Tag Archives: Zone Enumeration

"Füße" by Robert Agthe is licensed under CC BY 2.0

How to walk DNSSEC Zones: dnsrecon

After the implementation of DNS and DNSSEC (see the last posts) it is good to do some reconnaissance attacks against the own DNS servers. Especially to see the NSEC or NSEC3 differences, i.e., whether zone walking (enumeration) is feasible or not.

For many different kinds of DNS reconnaissance the tool dnsrecon can be used. In this post I will focus on the -z  option which is used for DNSSEC zone walking, i.e., walk leaf by leaf of the whole DNS zone.

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"Chain" by Astro is licensed under CC BY 2.0

DNSSEC with NSEC3

By default DNSSEC uses the next secure (NSEC) resource record “to provide authenticated denial of existence for DNS data”, RFC 4034. This feature creates a complete chain of all resource records of a complete zone. While it has its usage to prove that no entry exists between two other entries, it can be used to “walk” through a complete zone, known as zone enumeration. That is: an attacker can easily gather all information about a complete zone by just using the designed features of DNSSEC.

For this reason NSEC3 was introduced: It constructs a chain of hashed and not of plain text resource records (RFC 5155). With NSEC3 enabled it is not feasible anymore to enumerate the zone. The standard uses a hash function and adds the NSEC3PARAM resource record to the zone which provides some details such as the salt.

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