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Root server DoS revisited (posted 2003-02-14)

As promised, some more information on the denial of service attacks on the root DNS servers last october. Paul Vixie, Gerry Sneeringer and Mark Schleifer prepared an event report with some good factual information. It seems each server received 50 to 100 Mbps worth of traffic, but not just ICMP as earlier reports indicated. The source addresses in the attacking IP packets were faked, but not easily identifiable as such. This explains why the attacking traffic wasn't simply filtered out very quickly.

However, all the "users weren't affected" and "the system kept running as designed" claims not withstanding, the fact that a fairly moderate amount of DoS traffic was able to make several of the root servers unreachable for many people is cause for concern. It seems the root server operators have picked up on this and are working on solutions. However, they're not saying much about this, which in itself is also cause for concern... "Security by obscurity" doesn't have a very good track record.