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The story of the great DNS hack

The story of the great DNS hack

In both 2004 and 2005, it was revealed that DNS, the system that maps intelligible names to the internet’s millions of IP addresses, was susceptible to wacky hijinks. The discovery was made possible by a man named Dan Kaminsky who, doped up on percocet for a shattered elbow, came to understand a simple hack with devastating consequences.

By acting as a surrogate authority to a DNS server, Kaminsky was able to trick the servers into believing that fake pages were the real destination for any given internet address. Because of DNS’ prevalence and assumed innocence, it’s a protocol able to skate past most firewalls and security measures virtually undetected. In effect, it was a hack that could be performed on a fundamental principle of the internet virtually without notice.

In a 2004 interview, Kaminsky cited this very idea. “DNS is everywhere–you cannot communicate over the global Internet without knowing where to go,” he said. “No one notices DNS; no one monitors it.”

Now Kaminsky has come forward in an outstanding interview with Wired to tell the narrative story of the hack and its discovery. For anyone interested in security or the Internet, this is the perfect read for a Monday morning.

Comments

  1. Snarkasm
    Snarkasm Fantastic article.
  2. MiracleManS
    MiracleManS The sad part is the fact that the internet is stuck in the same rut as almost any other "old" system. People are convinced things aren't broken no matter how many times someone tells them otherwise.

    It takes absolute proof that the world will end before they'll even consider the possibility that things might need reworked.
  3. Kwitko
    Kwitko When most of the software was written nobody expected it to handle the load it does today. It was written with letting researchers connect, not much more. I'm sure that even more vulnerabilities exist that are far more catastrophic than this one. Great article, and food for thought.

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