Network Working Group W. Hardaker
Request for Comments: 4509 Sparta
Category: Standards Track May 2006 Use of SHA-256 in DNSSEC Delegation Signer (DS) Resource Records (RRs)
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 (C) The Internet Society (2006).
This document specifies how to use the SHA-256 digest type in DNS
Delegation Signer (DS) Resource Records (RRs). DS records, when
stored in a parent zone, point to DNSKEYs in a child zone.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction ....................................................22. Implementing the SHA-256 Algorithm for DS Record Support ........22.1. DS Record Field Values .....................................22.2. DS Record with SHA-256 Wire Format .........................32.3. Example DS Record Using SHA-256 ............................33. Implementation Requirements .....................................34. Deployment Considerations .......................................45. IANA Considerations .............................................46. Security Considerations .........................................46.1. Potential Digest Type Downgrade Attacks ....................46.2. SHA-1 vs SHA-256 Considerations for DS Records .............57. Acknowledgements ................................................58. References ......................................................68.1. Normative References .......................................68.2. Informative References .....................................6
The DNSSEC [RFC4033] [RFC4034] [RFC4035] DS RR is published in parent
zones to distribute a cryptographic digest of one key in a child's
DNSKEY RRset. The DS RRset is signed by at least one of the parent
zone's private zone data signing keys for each algorithm in use by
the parent. Each signature is published in an RRSIG resource record,
owned by the same domain as the DS RRset, with a type covered of DS.
In this document, the key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED",
"SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY",
and "OPTIONAL" are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119].
2. Implementing the SHA-256 Algorithm for DS Record Support
This document specifies that the digest type code 2 has been assigned
to SHA-256 [SHA256] [SHA256CODE] for use within DS records. The
results of the digest algorithm MUST NOT be truncated, and the entire
32 byte digest result is to be published in the DS record.
2.1. DS Record Field Values
Using the SHA-256 digest algorithm within a DS record will make use
of the following DS-record fields:
Digest type: 2
Digest: A SHA-256 bit digest value calculated by using the following
formula ("|" denotes concatenation). The resulting value is not
truncated, and the entire 32 byte result is to be used in the
resulting DS record and related calculations.
digest = SHA_256(DNSKEY owner name | DNSKEY RDATA)
where DNSKEY RDATA is defined by [RFC4034] as:
DNSKEY RDATA = Flags | Protocol | Algorithm | Public Key
The Key Tag field and Algorithm fields remain unchanged by this
document and are specified in the [RFC4034] specification.
2.2. DS Record with SHA-256 Wire Format
The resulting on-the-wire format for the resulting DS record will be
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
| Key Tag | Algorithm | DigestType=2 |
/ Digest (length for SHA-256 is 32 bytes) /
2.3. Example DS Record Using SHA-256
The following is an example DNSKEY and matching DS record. This
DNSKEY record comes from the example DNSKEY/DS records found in
section 5.4 of [RFC4034].
The DNSKEY record:
dskey.example.com. 86400 IN DNSKEY 256 3 5 ( AQOeiiR0GOMYkDshWoSKz9Xz
) ; key id = 60485
The resulting DS record covering the above DNSKEY record using a
dskey.example.com. 86400 IN DS 60485 5 2 ( D4B7D520E7BB5F0F67674A0C
3. Implementation Requirements
Implementations MUST support the use of the SHA-256 algorithm in DS
RRs. Validator implementations SHOULD ignore DS RRs containing SHA-1
digests if DS RRs with SHA-256 digests are present in the DS RRset.
4. Deployment Considerations
If a validator does not support the SHA-256 digest type and no other
DS RR exists in a zone's DS RRset with a supported digest type, then
the validator has no supported authentication path leading from the
parent to the child. The resolver should treat this case as it would
the case of an authenticated NSEC RRset proving that no DS RRset
exists, as described in [RFC4035], Section 5.2.
Because zone administrators cannot control the deployment speed of
support for SHA-256 in validators that may be referencing any of
their zones, zone operators should consider deploying both SHA-1 and
SHA-256 based DS records. This should be done for every DNSKEY for
which DS records are being generated. Whether to make use of both
digest types and for how long is a policy decision that extends
beyond the scope of this document.
5. IANA Considerations
Only one IANA action is required by this document:
The Digest Type to be used for supporting SHA-256 within DS records
has been assigned by IANA.
At the time of this writing, the current digest types assigned for
use in DS records are as follows:
VALUE Digest Type Status
0 Reserved -
1 SHA-1 MANDATORY
2 SHA-256 MANDATORY
3-255 Unassigned -
6. Security Considerations
6.1. Potential Digest Type Downgrade Attacks
A downgrade attack from a stronger digest type to a weaker one is
possible if all of the following are true:
o A zone includes multiple DS records for a given child's DNSKEY,
each of which uses a different digest type.
o A validator accepts a weaker digest even if a stronger one is
present but invalid.
For example, if the following conditions are all true:
o Both SHA-1 and SHA-256 based digests are published in DS records
within a parent zone for a given child zone's DNSKEY.
o The DS record with the SHA-1 digest matches the digest computed
using the child zone's DNSKEY.
o The DS record with the SHA-256 digest fails to match the digest
computed using the child zone's DNSKEY.
Then, if the validator accepts the above situation as secure, then
this can be used as a downgrade attack since the stronger SHA-256
digest is ignored.
6.2. SHA-1 vs. SHA-256 Considerations for DS Records
Users of DNSSEC are encouraged to deploy SHA-256 as soon as software
implementations allow for it. SHA-256 is widely believed to be more
resilient to attack than SHA-1, and confidence in SHA-1's strength is
being eroded by recently announced attacks. Regardless of whether
the attacks on SHA-1 will affect DNSSEC, it is believed (at the time
of this writing) that SHA-256 is the better choice for use in DS
At the time of this publication, the SHA-256 digest algorithm is
considered sufficiently strong for the immediate future. It is also
considered sufficient for use in DNSSEC DS RRs for the immediate
future. However, future published attacks may weaken the usability
of this algorithm within the DS RRs. It is beyond the scope of this
document to speculate extensively on the cryptographic strength of
the SHA-256 digest algorithm.
Likewise, it is also beyond the scope of this document to specify
whether or for how long SHA-1 based DS records should be
simultaneously published alongside SHA-256 based DS records.
This document is a minor extension to the existing DNSSEC documents
and those authors are gratefully appreciated for the hard work that
went into the base documents.
The following people contributed to portions of this document in some
fashion: Mark Andrews, Roy Arends, Olafur Gudmundsson, Paul Hoffman,
Olaf M. Kolkman, Edward Lewis, Scott Rose, Stuart E. Schechter, Sam
8.1. Normative References
[RFC2119] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.
[RFC4033] Arends, R., Austein, R., Larson, M., Massey, D., and S.
Rose, "DNS Security Introduction and Requirements", RFC
4033, March 2005.
[RFC4034] Arends, R., Austein, R., Larson, M., Massey, D., and S.
Rose, "Resource Records for the DNS Security
Extensions", RFC 4034, March 2005.
[RFC4035] Arends, R., Austein, R., Larson, M., Massey, D., and S.
Rose, "Protocol Modifications for the DNS Security
Extensions", RFC 4035, March 2005.
[SHA256] National Institute of Standards and Technology, "Secure
Hash Algorithm. NIST FIPS 180-2", August 2002.
8.2. Informative References
[SHA256CODE] Eastlake, D., "US Secure Hash Algorithms (SHA)", Work in
P.O. Box 382
Davis, CA 95617
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