Search /
Docfinder:
Advanced search  |  Help  |  Site map
RESEARCH CENTERS
SITE RESOURCES
Click for Layer 8! No, really, click NOW!
Networking for Small Business
TODAY'S NEWS
While Heartbleed distracts, hackers hit US universities
How Apple's billion dollar sapphire bet will pay off
US to vote on sharp increase in broadband subsidies
iPhone 6 rumor rollup for the week ending April 18
NSA spying revelations have tired out China's Huawei
Arista co-founder may have switch maker by its jewels
Apple kicks off public OS X beta testing
Open source pitfalls – and how to avoid them
AT&T's expanded 1 Gbps fiber rollout could go head to head with Google
BlackBerry Releases BES 10 Security Update to Address 'Heartbleed' Flaw
Verizon: Web apps are the security punching bag of the Internet
Cisco announces security service linked with new operations centers
Dell launches virtual storage accelerator, aims to boost SAN performance
Free OS X Mavericks now powers half of all Macs
Even the most secure cloud storage may not be so secure, study finds  
3D printing will transform these five industries
Most but not all sites have fixed Heartbleed flaw
NEC launches face-recognition protection for PCs
Hundreds of medical professionals targeted in multi-state tax scam
Super-high frequencies could one day deliver your mobile video
Americans cool with lab-grown organs, but not designer babies
IT Departments Not Losing Ground to Managed Service Providers (Yet)
Where's my gigabit Internet, anyway?
IE6: Retired but not dead yet
Enterprise who? Google says little about Apps, business cloud services in Q1 report
/

VeriSign to give BIND the boot

Today's breaking news
Send to a friendFeedback


VeriSign is upgrading the directory and database software that underpins most Web site lookups in a move that experts say will help improve the security and reliability of the Internet's DNS.

VeriSign is replacing an open source software package called Berkeley Internet Name Domain (BIND) with its own proprietary technology. Dubbed ATLAS, for Advanced Transaction Look-up and Signaling, VeriSign's proprietary software will be installed in its 13 DNS server sites around the globe this summer and will go into production mode in the fall.

BIND, which runs on most corporate domain name servers, translates domain names into numerical IP addresses. Developed in the early 1980s, BIND lacks robust security and scalability. Last week, CERT warned that a flaw in certain versions of BIND could leave parts of the Internet vulnerable to denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.

With ATLAS, VeriSign says it will improve its protection against distributed DoS attacks along with the speed and reliability of lookups.

"The major focus of ATLAS is reliability, scalability and flexibility for conversions,'' says Aristotle Balogh, vice president of engineering at VeriSign Global Registry. "Some of the performance improvements come from innovative algorithms for lookups and updates.''

DNS experts say VeriSign's move to ATLAS will help fix a DNS environment that is too homogeneous.

"Having everyone run the same name server is a screaming invitation for bad things to happen,'' says David Conrad, CTO at Nominum, a DNS service provider. "There has been a push in the root server community as well as the top-level domain [registry] community to try to get people to diversify. This way a single DoS attack wouldn't take out all the name servers.''

VeriSign is the latest domain name registry to migrate away from BIND. Others that are choosing alternatives include the operators of the new .coop, .aero and .info registries, which selected software from Nominum, and Ripe Network Coordination Center, which is writing its own DNS software.

"There is a greater diversity of products available to provide DNS services and products,'' Conrad says. "That trend will continue as we get more special products to deal with special needs.''

VeriSign's shift to ATLAS shouldn't affect DNS interoperability, says Ray Plzak, president of the American Registry for Internet Numbers and co-chair of the Internet Engineering Task Force's Domain Name Server Operations working group.

"The only standardization is in the IETF's [requests for comment],'' Plzak says. "It just so happens that BIND is used by everybody. But as long as people implement to the standards, it shouldn't matter what software they use.''

VeriSign's ATLAS software has been under development for 18 months and cost the company several million dollars, officials say. Key features are:

l Scalability from an average of 6.5 billion DNS queries per day today to a projected 100 billion queries per day with 10-msec response time.

l Ability to propagate updates to DNS information in 6 seconds vs. 12 hours today. This will let network managers make near-instantaneous changes to DNS information and be assured of Web site availability.

l Next year it will support not only DNS lookups but also emerging protocols such as Session Initiation Protocol and Signaling Series 7 for Internet telephone calls.

While it rolls out the new software, VeriSign also is upgrading its servers and network architecture. The company is installing new routers, switches and load balancers from Cisco, Alteon and Foundry Networks. New servers are from IBM and Intel.

Meanwhile, CERT's latest advisory about BIND affects all but the most recent version of BIND 9, which was released in May. DNS servers running software prior to BIND 9.2.1 are vulnerable to attacks that can shut down DNS service by sending a specific packet, CERT said. The service remains unavailable until restarted. n

RELATED LINKS

Apply for your free subscription to Network World. Click here. Or get Network World delivered in PDF each week.

Get Copyright Clearance
Request a reprint or permission to use this article.


NWFusion offers more than 40 FREE technology-specific email newsletters in key network technology areas such as NSM, VPNs, Convergence, Security and more.
Click here to sign up!
New Event - WANs: Optimizing Your Network Now.
Hear from the experts about the innovations that are already starting to shake up the WAN world. Free Network World Technology Tour and Expo in Dallas, San Francisco, Washington DC, and New York.
Attend FREE
Your FREE Network World subscription will also include breaking news and information on wireless, storage, infrastructure, carriers and SPs, enterprise applications, videoconferencing, plus product reviews, technology insiders, management surveys and technology updates - GET IT NOW.