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Obsoleted by: 4035, 4033, 4034 PROPOSED STANDARD
Updated by: 3658
Network Working Group                                      B. Wellington
Request for Comments: 3008                                       Nominum
Updates: 2535                                              November 2000
Category: Standards Track

         Domain Name System Security (DNSSEC) Signing Authority

Status of this Memo

   This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the
   Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
   improvements.  Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet
   Official Protocol Standards" (STD 1) for the standardization state
   and status of this protocol.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2000).  All Rights Reserved.


   This document proposes a revised model of Domain Name System Security
   (DNSSEC) Signing Authority.  The revised model is designed to clarify
   earlier documents and add additional restrictions to simplify the
   secure resolution process.  Specifically, this affects the
   authorization of keys to sign sets of records.

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [RFC2119].

1 - Introduction

   This document defines additional restrictions on DNSSEC signatures
   (SIG) records relating to their authority to sign associated data.
   The intent is to establish a standard policy followed by a secure
   resolver; this policy can be augmented by local rules.  This builds
   upon [RFC2535], updating section 2.3.6 of that document.

   The most significant change is that in a secure zone, zone data is
   required to be signed by the zone key.

   Familiarity with the DNS system [RFC1034, RFC1035] and the DNS
   security extensions [RFC2535] is assumed.

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2 - The SIG Record

   A SIG record is normally associated with an RRset, and "covers" (that
   is, demonstrates the authenticity and integrity of) the RRset.  This
   is referred to as a "data SIG".  Note that there can be multiple SIG
   records covering an RRset, and the same validation process should be
   repeated for each of them.  Some data SIGs are considered "material",
   that is, relevant to a DNSSEC capable resolver, and some are
   "immaterial" or "extra-DNSSEC", as they are not relevant to DNSSEC
   validation.  Immaterial SIGs may have application defined roles.  SIG
   records may exist which are not bound to any RRset; these are also
   considered immaterial.  The validation process determines which SIGs
   are material; once a SIG is shown to be immaterial, no other
   validation is necessary.

   SIGs may also be used for transaction security.  In this case, a SIG
   record with a type covered field of 0 is attached to a message, and
   is used to protect message integrity.  This is referred to as a
   SIG(0) [RFC2535, RFC2931].

   The following sections define requirements for all of the fields of a
   SIG record.  These requirements MUST be met in order for a DNSSEC
   capable resolver to process this signature.  If any of these
   requirements are not met, the SIG cannot be further processed.
   Additionally, once a KEY has been identified as having generated this
   SIG, there are requirements that it MUST meet.

2.1 - Type Covered

   For a data SIG, the type covered MUST be the same as the type of data
   in the associated RRset.  For a SIG(0), the type covered MUST be 0.

2.2 - Algorithm Number

   The algorithm specified in a SIG MUST be recognized by the client,
   and it MUST be an algorithm that has a defined SIG rdata format.

2.3 - Labels

   The labels count MUST be less than or equal to the number of labels
   in the SIG owner name, as specified in [RFC2535, section 4.1.3].

2.4 - Original TTL

   The original TTL MUST be greater than or equal to the TTL of the SIG
   record itself, since the TTL cannot be increased by intermediate
   servers.  This field can be ignored for SIG(0) records.

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2.5 - Signature Expiration and Inception

   The current time at the time of validation MUST lie within the
   validity period bounded by the inception and expiration times.

2.6 - Key Tag

   There are no restrictions on the Key Tag field, although it is
   possible that future algorithms will impose constraints.

2.7 - Signer's Name

   The signer's name field of a data SIG MUST contain the name of the
   zone to which the data and signature belong.  The combination of
   signer's name, key tag, and algorithm MUST identify a zone key if the
   SIG is to be considered material.  The only exception that the
   signer's name field in a SIG KEY at a zone apex SHOULD contain the
   parent zone's name, unless the KEY set is self-signed.  This document
   defines a standard policy for DNSSEC validation; local policy may
   override the standard policy.

   There are no restrictions on the signer field of a SIG(0) record.
   The combination of signer's name, key tag, and algorithm MUST
   identify a key if this SIG(0) is to be processed.

2.8 - Signature

   There are no restrictions on the signature field.  The signature will
   be verified at some point, but does not need to be examined prior to
   verification unless a future algorithm imposes constraints.

3 - The Signing KEY Record

   Once a signature has been examined and its fields validated (but
   before the signature has been verified), the resolver attempts to
   locate a KEY that matches the signer name, key tag, and algorithm
   fields in the SIG.  If one is not found, the SIG cannot be verified
   and is considered immaterial.  If KEYs are found, several fields of
   the KEY record MUST have specific values if the SIG is to be
   considered material and authorized.  If there are multiple KEYs, the
   following checks are performed on all of them, as there is no way to
   determine which one generated the signature until the verification is

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3.1 - Type Flags

   The signing KEY record MUST have a flags value of 00 or 01
   (authentication allowed, confidentiality optional) [RFC2535, 3.1.2].
   A DNSSEC resolver MUST only trust signatures generated by keys that
   are permitted to authenticate data.

3.2 - Name Flags

   The interpretation of this field is considerably different for data
   SIGs and SIG(0) records.

3.2.1 - Data SIG

   If the SIG record covers an RRset, the name type of the associated
   KEY MUST be 01 (zone) [RFC2535, 3.1.2].  This updates RFC 2535,
   section 2.3.6.  The DNSSEC validation process performed by a resolver
   MUST ignore all keys that are not zone keys unless local policy
   dictates otherwise.

   The primary reason that RFC 2535 allows host and user keys to
   generate material DNSSEC signatures is to allow dynamic update
   without online zone keys; that is, avoid storing private keys in an
   online server.  The desire to avoid online signing keys cannot be
   achieved, though, because they are necessary to sign NXT and SOA sets
   [RFC3007].  These online zone keys can sign any incoming data.
   Removing the goal of having no online keys removes the reason to
   allow host and user keys to generate material signatures.

   Limiting material signatures to zone keys simplifies the validation
   process.  The length of the verification chain is bounded by the
   name's label depth.  The authority of a key is clearly defined; a
   resolver does not need to make a potentially complicated decision to
   determine whether a key has the proper authority to sign data.

   Finally, there is no additional flexibility granted by allowing
   host/user key generated material signatures.  As long as users and
   hosts have the ability to authenticate update requests to the primary
   zone server, signatures by zone keys are sufficient to protect the
   integrity of the data to the world at large.

3.2.2 - SIG(0)

   If the SIG record is a SIG(0) protecting a message, the name type of
   the associated KEY SHOULD be 00 (user) or 10 (host/entity).
   Transactions are initiated by a host or user, not a zone, so zone
   keys SHOULD not generate SIG(0) records.

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   A client is either explicitly executed by a user or on behalf of a
   host, therefore the name type of a SIG(0) generated by a client
   SHOULD be either user or host.  A nameserver is associated with a
   host, and its use of SIG(0) is not associated with a particular zone,
   so the name type of a SIG(0) generated by a nameserver SHOULD be

3.3 - Signatory Flags

   This document does not assign any values to the signatory field, nor
   require any values to be present.

3.4 - Protocol

   The signing KEY record MUST have a protocol value of 3 (DNSSEC) or
   255 (ALL).  If a key is not specified for use with DNSSEC, a DNSSEC
   resolver MUST NOT trust any signature that it generates.

3.5 - Algorithm Number

   The algorithm field MUST be identical to that of the generated SIG
   record, and MUST meet all requirements for an algorithm value in a
   SIG record.

4 - Security Considerations

   This document defines a standard baseline for a DNSSEC capable
   resolver.  This is necessary for a thorough security analysis of
   DNSSEC, if one is to be done.

   Specifically, this document places additional restrictions on SIG
   records that a resolver must validate before the signature can be
   considered worthy of DNSSEC trust.  This simplifies the protocol,
   making it more robust and able to withstand scrutiny by the security

5 - Acknowledgements

   The author would like to thank the following people for review and
   informative comments (in alphabetical order):

   Olafur Gudmundsson
   Ed Lewis

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6 - References

   [RFC1034]  Mockapetris, P., "Domain Names - Concepts and Facilities",
              STD 13, RFC 1034, November 1987.

   [RFC1035]  Mockapetris, P., "Domain Names - Implementation and
              Specification", STD 13, RFC 1035, November 1987.

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

   [RFC2136]  Vixie (Ed.), P., Thomson, S., Rekhter, Y. and J. Bound,
              "Dynamic Updates in the Domain Name System", RFC 2136,
              April 1997.

   [RFC2535]  Eastlake, D., "Domain Name System Security Extensions",
              RFC 2535, March 1999.

   [RFC2931]  Eastlake, D., "DNS Request and Transaction Signatures
              (SIG(0)s )", RFC 2931, September 2000.

   [RFC3007]      Wellington, B., "Simple Secure Domain Name System
              (DNS) Dynamic Update", RFC 3007, November 2000.

7 - Author's Address

   Brian Wellington
   Nominum, Inc.
   950 Charter Street
   Redwood City, CA 94063

   Phone: +1 650 381 6022
   EMail: Brian.Wellington@nominum.com

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8  Full Copyright Statement

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2000).  All Rights Reserved.

   This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to
   others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it
   or assist in its implementation may be prepared, copied, published
   and distributed, in whole or in part, without restriction of any
   kind, provided that the above copyright notice and this paragraph are
   included on all such copies and derivative works.  However, this
   document itself may not be modified in any way, such as by removing
   the copyright notice or references to the Internet Society or other
   Internet organizations, except as needed for the purpose of
   developing Internet standards in which case the procedures for
   copyrights defined in the Internet Standards process must be
   followed, or as required to translate it into languages other than

   The limited permissions granted above are perpetual and will not be
   revoked by the Internet Society or its successors or assigns.

   This document and the information contained herein is provided on an


   Funding for the RFC Editor function is currently provided by the
   Internet Society.

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