Skip to Content
[CAIDA - Center for Applied Internet Data Analysis logo]
Center for Applied Internet Data Analysis > publications : papers : 2020 : unresolved_issues
Unresolved Issues: Prevalence, Persistence, and Perils of Lame Delegations
G. Akiwate, M. Jonker, R. Sommese, I. Foster, G. Voelker, S. Savage, and k. claffy, "Unresolved Issues: Prevalence, Persistence, and Perils of Lame Delegations", in ACM Internet Measurement Conference (IMC), Oct 2020.
|   View full paper:    PDF    Related Presentation    |  Citation:    BibTeX    Resource Catalog   |

Unresolved Issues: Prevalence, Persistence, and Perils of Lame Delegations

Gautam Akiwate3
Mattijs Jonker4
Raffaele Sommese4
Ian Foster2
Geoffrey Voelker3
Stefan Savage3
kc claffy1

CAIDA, San Diego Supercomputer Center, University of California San Diego


DNS Coffee


University of California, San Diego (UCSD)


University of Twente

The modern Internet relies on the Domain Name System (DNS) to convert between human-readable domain names and IP addresses. However, the correct and efficient implementation of this function is jeopardized when the configuration data binding domains, nameservers and glue records is faulty. In particular lame delegations, which occur when a nameserver responsible for a domain is unable to provide authoritative information about it, introduce both performance and security risks. We perform a broad-based measurement study of lame delegations, using both longitudinal zone data and active querying. We show that lame delegations of various kinds are common (affecting roughly 14% of domains we queried), that they can significantly degrade lookup latency (when they do not lead to outright failure), and that they expose hundreds of thousands of domains to adversarial takeover. We also explore circumstances that give rise to this surprising prevalence of lame delegations, including unforeseen interactions between the operational procedures of registrars and registries.

Keywords: dns, security
  Last Modified: Tue Nov-17-2020 04:47:43 UTC
  Page URL: