Practical Domain Name System Security: A Survey of Common Hazards and Preventative Measures

Contributed by Nicholas A. Plante

The Domain Name System (DNS) is a hierarchical database distributed around the world whose primary function is to translate human-readable domain names to numerical IP addresses for network lookup and communication. The current system was designed in 1984 by Paul Mockapetris to eliminate scalability problems that had become apparent with the previous name-to-IP mapping scheme, which involved maintenance of a single hosts file distributed to end hosts periodically. A vast improvement to its predecessor, DNS is well suited to its task of maintaining a relatively efficient, distributed set of nameto-IP mappings, but unfortunately leaves something to be desired in terms of security.

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