Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) F. Dupont
Request for Comments: 8945
Category: Standards Track P. Vixie
ISSN: 2070-1721 Farsight
D. Eastlake 3rd
Secret Key Transaction Authentication for DNS (TSIG)
This document describes a protocol for transaction-level
authentication using shared secrets and one-way hashing. It can be
used to authenticate dynamic updates to a DNS zone as coming from an
approved client or to authenticate responses as coming from an
approved name server.
No recommendation is made here for distributing the shared secrets;
it is expected that a network administrator will statically configure
name servers and clients using some out-of-band mechanism.
This document obsoletes RFCs 2845 and 4635.
Status of This Memo
This is an Internet Standards Track document.
This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force
(IETF). It represents the consensus of the IETF community. It has
received public review and has been approved for publication by the
Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG). Further information on
Internet Standards is available in Section 2 of RFC 7841
Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8945
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Table of Contents 1.
Protocol Overview 1.3.
Document History 2.
Key Words 3.
Assigned Numbers 4.
TSIG RR Format 4.1.
TSIG RR Type 4.2.
TSIG Record Format 4.3.
MAC Computation 4.3.1.
Request MAC 4.3.2.
DNS Message 4.3.3.
TSIG Variables 5.
Protocol Details 5.1.
Generation of TSIG on Requests 5.2.
Server Processing of Request 5.2.1.
Key Check and Error Handling 5.2.2.
MAC Check and Error Handling 5.2.3.
Time Check and Error Handling 5.2.4.
Truncation Check and Error Handling 5.3.
Generation of TSIG on Answers 5.3.1.
TSIG on TCP Connections 5.3.2.
Generation of TSIG on Error Returns 5.4.
Client Processing of Answer 5.4.1.
Key Error Handling 5.4.2.
MAC Error Handling 5.4.3.
Time Error Handling 5.4.4.
Truncation Error Handling 5.5.
Special Considerations for Forwarding Servers 6.
Algorithms and Identifiers 7.
TSIG Truncation Policy 8.
Shared Secrets 9.
IANA Considerations 10.
Security Considerations 10.1.
Issue Fixed in This Document 10.2.
Why Not DNSSEC? 11.
Normative References 11.2.
The Domain Name System (DNS) ([RFC1034
]) is a replicated
hierarchical distributed database system that provides information
fundamental to Internet operations, such as name-to-address
translation and mail-handling information.
This document specifies use of a message authentication code (MAC),
generated using certain keyed hash functions, to provide an efficient
means of point-to-point authentication and integrity checking for DNS
transactions. Such transactions include DNS update requests and
responses for which this can provide a lightweight alternative to the
secure DNS dynamic update protocol described by [RFC3007
A further use of this mechanism is to protect zone transfers. In
this case, the data covered would be the whole zone transfer
including any glue records sent. The protocol described by DNSSEC
]) does not protect glue records and
The authentication mechanism proposed here provides a simple and
efficient authentication between clients and servers, by using shared
secret keys to establish a trust relationship between two entities.
Such keys must be protected in a manner similar to private keys, lest
a third party masquerade as one of the intended parties (by forging
the MAC). The proposal is unsuitable for general server-to-server
authentication and for servers that speak with many other servers,
since key management would become unwieldy with the number of shared
keys going up quadratically. But it is suitable for many resolvers
on hosts that only talk to a few recursive servers.
1.2. Protocol Overview
Secret Key Transaction Authentication makes use of signatures on
messages sent between the parties involved (e.g., resolver and
server). These are known as "transaction signatures", or TSIG. For
historical reasons, in this document, they are referred to as message
authentication codes (MACs).
Use of TSIG presumes prior agreement between the two parties involved
(e.g., resolver and server) as to any algorithm and key to be used.
The way that this agreement is reached is outside the scope of the
A DNS message exchange involves the sending of a query and the
receipt of one of more DNS messages in response. For the query, the
MAC is calculated based on the hash of the contents and the agreed
TSIG key. The MAC for the response is similar but also includes the
MAC of the query as part of the calculation. Where a response
comprises multiple packets, the calculation of the MAC associated
with the second and subsequent packets includes in its inputs the MAC
for the preceding packet. In this way, it is possible to detect any
interruption in the packet sequence, although not its premature
The MAC is contained in a TSIG resource record included in the
additional section of the DNS message.
1.3. Document History
TSIG was originally specified by [RFC2845
]. In 2017, two name server
implementations strictly following that document (and the related
]) were discovered to have security problems related to this
feature ([CVE-2017-3142], [CVE-2017-3143], [CVE-2017-11104]). The
implementations were fixed, but to avoid similar problems in the
future, the two documents were updated and merged, producing this
revised specification for TSIG.
While TSIG implemented according to this RFC provides for enhanced
security, there are no changes in interoperability. TSIG on the wire
is still the same mechanism described in [RFC2845
]; only the checking
semantics have been changed. See Section 10.1
for further details.
2. Key Words
The key words "MUST
", "MUST NOT
", "SHALL NOT
", "SHOULD NOT
", "NOT RECOMMENDED
" in this document are to be interpreted as described in
BCP 14 [RFC2119
] when, and only when, they appear in all
capitals, as shown here.
3. Assigned Numbers
This document defines the following Resource Record (RR) type and
In addition, the document also defines the following DNS RCODEs and
(See Section 2.3 of [RFC6895
] concerning the assignment of the value 16
These RCODES may appear within the "Error" field of a TSIG RR.
4. TSIG RR Format
4.1. TSIG RR Type
To provide secret key authentication, we use an RR type whose
mnemonic is TSIG and whose type code is 250. TSIG is a meta-RR and MUST NOT
be cached. TSIG RRs are used for authentication between DNS
entities that have established a shared secret key. TSIG RRs are
dynamically computed to cover a particular DNS transaction and are
not DNS RRs in the usual sense.
As the TSIG RRs are related to one DNS request/response, there is no
value in storing or retransmitting them; thus, the TSIG RR is
discarded once it has been used to authenticate a DNS message.
4.2. TSIG Record Format
The fields of the TSIG RR are described below. All multi-octet
integers in the record are sent in network byte order (see
Section 2.3.2 of [RFC1035
NAME: The name of the key used, in domain name syntax. The name
should reflect the names of the hosts and uniquely identify the
key among a set of keys these two hosts may share at any given
time. For example, if hosts A.site.example and B.example.net
share a key, possibilities for the key name include
<id>.A.site.example, <id>.B.example.net, and
<id>.A.site.example.B.example.net. It should be possible for more
than one key to be in simultaneous use among a set of interacting
hosts. This allows for periodic key rotation as per best
operational practices, as well as algorithm agility as indicated
The name may be used as a local index to the key involved, but it
is recommended that it be globally unique. Where a key is just
shared between two hosts, its name actually need only be
meaningful to them, but it is recommended that the key name be
mnemonic and incorporate the names of participating agents or
resources as suggested above.
TYPE: This MUST
be TSIG (250: Transaction SIGnature).
CLASS: This MUST
TTL: This MUST
RDATA: The RDATA for a TSIG RR consists of a number of fields,
described below: 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
/ Algorithm Name /
| Time Signed +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
| | Fudge |
| MAC Size | /
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ MAC /
| Original ID | Error |
| Other Len | /
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+ Other Data /
The contents of the RDATA fields are:
an octet sequence identifying the TSIG algorithm in the domain
name syntax. (Allowed names are listed in Table 3.) The name is
stored in the DNS name wire format as described in [RFC1034
], this name MUST NOT
an unsigned 48-bit integer containing the time the message was
signed as seconds since 00:00 on 1970-01-01 UTC, ignoring leap
an unsigned 16-bit integer specifying the allowed time difference
in seconds permitted in the Time Signed field.
an unsigned 16-bit integer giving the length of the MAC field in
octets. Truncation is indicated by a MAC Size less than the size
of the keyed hash produced by the algorithm specified by the
a sequence of octets whose contents are defined by the TSIG
algorithm used, possibly truncated as specified by the MAC Size.
The length of this field is given by the MAC Size. Calculation of
the MAC is detailed in Section 4.3
an unsigned 16-bit integer holding the message ID of the original
request message. For a TSIG RR on a request, it is set equal to
the DNS message ID. In a TSIG attached to a response -- or in
cases such as the forwarding of a dynamic update request -- the
field contains the ID of the original DNS request.
in responses, an unsigned 16-bit integer containing the extended
RCODE covering TSIG processing. In requests, this MUST
an unsigned 16-bit integer specifying the length of the Other Data
field in octets.
additional data relevant to the TSIG record. In responses, this
will be empty (i.e., Other Len will be zero) unless the content of
the Error field is BADTIME, in which case it will be a 48-bit
unsigned integer containing the server's current time as the
number of seconds since 00:00 on 1970-01-01 UTC, ignoring leap
seconds (see Section 5.2.3
). This document assigns no meaning to
its contents in requests.
4.3. MAC Computation
When generating or verifying the contents of a TSIG record, the data
listed in the rest of this section are passed, in the order listed
below, as input to MAC computation. The data are passed in network
byte order or wire format, as appropriate and are fed into the
hashing function as a continuous octet sequence with no interfield
separator or padding.
Only included in the computation of a MAC for a response message (or
the first message in a multi-message response), the validated request
be included in the MAC computation. If the request MAC
failed to validate, an unsigned error message MUST
instead (Section 5.3.2
The request's MAC, comprising the following fields, is digested in
| Field | Type | Description |
| MAC Size | Unsigned 16-bit integer | in network byte order |
| MAC Data | octet sequence | exactly as transmitted |
Table 1: Request's MAC
Special considerations apply to the TSIG calculation for the second
and subsequent messages in a response that consists of multiple DNS
messages (e.g., a zone transfer). These are described in Section 5.3.1
In the MAC computation, the whole/complete DNS message in wire format
When creating an outgoing message, the TSIG is based on the message
content before the TSIG RR has been added to the additional section
and before the DNS Message Header's ARCOUNT has been incremented to
include the TSIG RR.
When verifying an incoming message, the TSIG is checked against the
message after the TSIG RR has been removed, the ARCOUNT decremented,
and the message ID replaced by the original message ID from the TSIG
if those IDs differ. (This could happen, for example, when
forwarding a dynamic update request.)
4.3.3. TSIG Variables
Also included in the digest is certain information present in the
TSIG RR. Adding this data provides further protection against an
attempt to interfere with the message.
| Source | Field Name | Notes |
| TSIG RR | NAME | Key name, in canonical wire format |
| TSIG RR | CLASS | MUST
be ANY |
| TSIG RR | TTL | MUST
be 0 |
| TSIG RDATA | Algorithm Name | in canonical wire format |
| TSIG RDATA | Time Signed | in network byte order |
| TSIG RDATA | Fudge | in network byte order |
| TSIG RDATA | Error | in network byte order |
| TSIG RDATA | Other Len | in network byte order |
| TSIG RDATA | Other Data | exactly as transmitted |
Table 2: TSIG Variables
The RR RDLENGTH and RDATA MAC Size are not included in the input to
MAC computation, since they are not guaranteed to be knowable before
the MAC is generated.
The Original ID field is not included in this section, as it has
already been substituted for the message ID in the DNS header and
For each label type, there must be a defined "Canonical wire format"
that specifies how to express a label in an unambiguous way. For
label type 00, this is defined in Section 6.2 of [RFC4034
]. The use
of label types other than 00 is not defined for this specification.
22.214.171.124. Time Values Used in TSIG Calculations
The data digested includes the two timer values in the TSIG header in
order to defend against replay attacks. If this were not done, an
attacker could replay old messages but update the Time Signed and
Fudge fields to make the message look new. The two fields are
collectively named "TSIG Timers", and for the purpose of MAC
calculation, they are hashed in their wire format, in the following
order: first Time Signed, then Fudge.
5. Protocol Details
5.1. Generation of TSIG on Requests
Once the outgoing record has been constructed, the client performs
the keyed hash (Hashed Message Authentication Code (HMAC))
computation, appends a TSIG record with the calculated MAC to the
additional section (incrementing the ARCOUNT to reflect the
additional RR), and transmits the request to the server. This TSIG
be the only TSIG RR in the message and MUST
be the last
record in the additional data section. The client MUST
store the MAC
and the key name from the request while awaiting an answer.
The digest components for a request are:
DNS Message (request)
TSIG Variables (request)
5.2. Server Processing of Request
If an incoming message contains a TSIG record, it MUST
be the last
record in the additional section. Multiple TSIG records are not
allowed. If multiple TSIG records are detected or a TSIG record is
present in any other position, the DNS message is dropped and a
response with RCODE 1 (FORMERR) MUST
be returned. Upon receipt of a
message with exactly one correctly placed TSIG RR, a copy of the TSIG
RR is stored and the TSIG RR is removed from the DNS message and
decremented out of the DNS message header's ARCOUNT.
If the TSIG RR cannot be interpreted, the server MUST
message as corrupt and return a FORMERR to the server. Otherwise,
the server is REQUIRED
to return a TSIG RR in the response.
To validate the received TSIG RR, the server MUST
following checks in the following order: 1.
Check key 2.
Check MAC 3.
Check time values 4.
Check truncation policy
5.2.1. Key Check and Error Handling
If a non-forwarding server does not recognize the key or algorithm
used by the client (or recognizes the algorithm but does not
implement it), the server MUST
generate an error response with RCODE 9
(NOTAUTH) and TSIG ERROR 17 (BADKEY). This response MUST
unsigned as specified in Section 5.3.2
. The server SHOULD
error. (Special considerations apply to forwarding servers; see Section 5.5
5.2.2. MAC Check and Error Handling
Using the information in the TSIG, the server MUST
verify the MAC by
doing its own calculation and comparing the result with the MAC
received. If the MAC fails to verify, the server MUST
error response as specified in Section 5.3.2
with RCODE 9 (NOTAUTH)
and TSIG ERROR 16 (BADSIG). This response MUST
be unsigned, as
specified in Section 5.3.2
. The server SHOULD
log the error.
When space is at a premium and the strength of the full length of a
MAC is not needed, it is reasonable to truncate the keyed hash and
use the truncated value for authentication. HMAC SHA-1 truncated to
96 bits is an option available in several IETF protocols, including
IPsec and TLS. However, while this option is kept for backwards
compatibility, it may not provide a security level appropriate for
all cases in the modern environment. In these cases, it is
preferable to use a hashing algorithm such as SHA-256-128, SHA-
384-192, or SHA-512-256 [RFC4868
Processing of a truncated MAC follows these rules:
If the MAC Size field is greater than the keyed hash output
length: This case MUST NOT
be generated and, if received, MUST
the DNS message to be dropped and RCODE 1 (FORMERR) to be
If the MAC Size field equals the keyed hash output length: The
entire keyed hash output is present and used.
If the MAC Size field is less than the larger of 10 (octets) and
half the length of the hash function in use: With the exception of
certain TSIG error messages described in Section 5.3.2
, where it
is permitted that the MAC Size be zero, this case MUST NOT
generated and, if received, MUST
cause the DNS message to be
dropped and RCODE 1 (FORMERR) to be returned.
Otherwise: This is sent when the signer has truncated the keyed hash
output to an allowable length, as described in [RFC2104
initial octets and discarding trailing octets. TSIG truncation
can only be to an integral number of octets. On receipt of a DNS
message with truncation thus indicated, the locally calculated MAC
is similarly truncated, and only the truncated values are compared
for authentication. The request MAC used when calculating the
TSIG MAC for a reply is the truncated request MAC.
5.2.3. Time Check and Error Handling
If the server time is outside the time interval specified by the
request (which is the Time Signed value plus/minus the Fudge value),
the server MUST
generate an error response with RCODE 9 (NOTAUTH) and
TSIG ERROR 18 (BADTIME). The server SHOULD
also cache the most
recent Time Signed value in a message generated by a key and SHOULD
return BADTIME if a message received later has an earlier Time Signed
value. A response indicating a BADTIME error MUST
be signed by the
same key as the request. It MUST
include the client's current time
in the Time Signed field, the server's current time (an unsigned
48-bit integer) in the Other Data field, and 6 in the Other Len
field. This is done so that the client can verify a message with a
BADTIME error without the verification failing due to another BADTIME
error. In addition, the Fudge field MUST
be set to the fudge value
received from the client. The data signed is specified in Section 5.3.2
. The server SHOULD
log the error.
Caching the most recent Time Signed value and rejecting requests with
an earlier one could lead to valid messages being rejected if transit
through the network led to UDP packets arriving in a different order
to the one in which they were sent. Implementations should be aware
of this possibility and be prepared to deal with it, e.g., by
retransmitting the rejected request with a new TSIG once outstanding
requests have completed or the time given by their Time Signed value
plus the Fudge value has passed. If implementations do retry
requests in these cases, a limit SHOULD
be placed on the maximum
number of retries.
5.2.4. Truncation Check and Error Handling
If a TSIG is received with truncation that is permitted per Section 126.96.36.199
but the MAC is too short for the local policy in
force, an RCODE 9 (NOTAUTH) and TSIG ERROR 22 (BADTRUNC) MUST
returned. The server SHOULD
log the error.
5.3. Generation of TSIG on Answers
When a server has generated a response to a signed request, it signs
the response using the same algorithm and key. The server MUST NOT
generate a signed response to a request if either the key is invalid
(e.g., key name or algorithm name are unknown) or the MAC fails
validation; see Section 5.3.2
for details of responding in these
It also MUST NOT
generate a signed response to an unsigned request,
except in the case of a response to a client's unsigned TKEY request
if the secret key is established on the server side after the server
processed the client's request. Signing responses to unsigned TKEY
be explicitly specified in the description of an
individual secret key establishment algorithm [RFC3645
The digest components used to generate a TSIG on a response are:
DNS Message (response)
TSIG Variables (response)
(This calculation is different for the second and subsequent message
in a multi-message answer; see below.)
If addition of the TSIG record will cause the message to be
truncated, the server MUST
alter the response so that a TSIG can be
included. This response contains only the question and a TSIG
record, has the TC bit set, and has an RCODE of 0 (NOERROR). At this
point, the client SHOULD
retry the request using TCP (as per
Section 4.2.2 of [RFC1035
5.3.1. TSIG on TCP Connections
A DNS TCP session, such as a zone transfer, can include multiple DNS
messages. Using TSIG on such a connection can protect the connection
from an attack and provide data integrity. The TSIG MUST
on all DNS messages in the response. For backward compatibility, a
client that receives DNS messages and verifies TSIG MUST
accept up to
99 intermediary messages without a TSIG and MUST
verify that both the
first and last message contain a TSIG.
The first message is processed as a standard answer (see Section 5.3
), but subsequent messages have the following digest
Prior MAC (running)
DNS Messages (any unsigned messages since the last TSIG)
TSIG Timers (current message)
The "Prior MAC" is the MAC from the TSIG attached to the last message
containing a TSIG. "DNS Messages" comprises the concatenation (in
message order) of all messages after the last message that included a
TSIG and includes the current message. "TSIG Timers" comprises the
Time Signed and Fudge fields (in that order) pertaining to the
message for which the TSIG was created; this means that the
successive TSIG records in the stream will have non-decreasing Time
Signed values. Note that only the timers are included in the second
and subsequent messages, not all the TSIG variables.
This allows the client to rapidly detect when the session has been
altered; at which point, it can close the connection and retry. If a
client TSIG verification fails, the client MUST
close the connection.
If the client does not receive TSIG records frequently enough (as
specified above), it SHOULD
assume the connection has been hijacked,
and it SHOULD
close the connection. The client SHOULD
treat this the
same way as they would any other interrupted transfer (although the
exact behavior is not specified).
5.3.2. Generation of TSIG on Error Returns
When a server detects an error relating to the key or MAC in the
incoming request, the server SHOULD
send back an unsigned error
message (MAC Size == 0 and empty MAC). It MUST NOT
send back a
signed error message.
If an error is detected relating to the TSIG validity period or the
MAC is too short for the local policy, the server SHOULD
send back a
signed error message. The digest components are:
Request MAC (if the request MAC validated)
DNS Message (response)
TSIG Variables (response)
The reason that the request MAC is not included in this MAC in some
cases is to make it possible for the client to verify the error. If
the error is not a TSIG error, the response MUST
be generated as
specified in Section 5.3
5.4. Client Processing of Answer
When a client receives a response from a server and expects to see a
TSIG, it first checks if the TSIG RR is present in the response. If
not, the response is treated as having a format error and is
If the TSIG RR is present, the client performs the same checks as
described in Section 5.2
. If the TSIG RR is unsigned as specified in Section 5.3.2
or does not validate, the message MUST
unless the RCODE is 9 (NOAUTH). In this case, the client SHOULD
attempt to verify the response as if it were a TSIG error, as
described in the following subsections.
Regardless of the RCODE, a message containing a TSIG RR that is
unsigned as specified in Section 5.3.2
or that fails verification SHOULD NOT
be considered an acceptable response, as it may have been
spoofed or manipulated. Instead, the client SHOULD
log an error and
continue to wait for a signed response until the request times out.
5.4.1. Key Error Handling
If an RCODE on a response is 9 (NOTAUTH), but the response TSIG
validates and the TSIG key is recognized by the client but is
different from that used on the request, then this is a key-related
error. The client MAY
retry the request using the key specified by
the server. However, this should never occur, as a server MUST NOT
sign a response with a different key to that used to sign the
5.4.2. MAC Error Handling
If the response RCODE is 9 (NOTAUTH) and TSIG ERROR is 16 (BADSIG),
this is a MAC-related error, and clients MAY
retry the request with a
new request ID, but it would be better to try a different shared key
if one is available. Clients SHOULD
keep track of how many MAC
errors are associated with each key. Clients SHOULD
log this event.
5.4.3. Time Error Handling
If the response RCODE is 9 (NOTAUTH) and the TSIG ERROR is 18
(BADTIME) or the current time does not fall in the range specified in
the TSIG record, then this is a time-related error. This is an
indication that the client and server clocks are not synchronized.
In this case, the client SHOULD
log the event. DNS resolvers MUST
adjust any clocks in the client based on BADTIME errors, but the
server's time in the Other Data field SHOULD
5.4.4. Truncation Error Handling
If the response RCODE is 9 (NOTAUTH) and the TSIG ERROR is 22
(BADTRUNC), then this is a truncation-related error. The client MAY
retry with a lesser truncation up to the full HMAC output (no
truncation), using the truncation used in the response as a hint for
what the server policy allowed (Section 7
). Clients SHOULD
5.5. Special Considerations for Forwarding Servers
A server acting as a forwarding server of a DNS message SHOULD
for the existence of a TSIG record. If the name on the TSIG is not
of a secret that the server shares with the originator, the server MUST
forward the message unchanged including the TSIG. If the name
of the TSIG is of a key this server shares with the originator, it MUST
process the TSIG. If the TSIG passes all checks, the forwarding
, if possible, include a TSIG of its own to the
destination or the next forwarder. If no transaction security is
available to the destination and the message is a query, and if the
corresponding response has the AD flag (see [RFC4035
]) set, the
clear the AD flag before adding the TSIG to the
response and returning the result to the system from which it
received the query.
6. Algorithms and Identifiers
The only message digest algorithm specified in the first version of
these specifications [RFC2845
] was "HMAC-MD5" (see [RFC1321
]). Although a review of its security some years ago
] concluded that "it may not be urgent to remove HMAC-MD5
from the existing protocols", with the availability of more secure
alternatives, the opportunity has been taken to make the
implementation of this algorithm optional.
] added mandatory support in TSIG for SHA-1 [FIPS180-4]
]. SHA-1 collisions have been demonstrated [SHA1SHAMBLES],
so the MD5 security considerations described in Section 2
] apply to SHA-1 in a similar manner. Although support for
hmac-sha1 in TSIG is still mandatory for compatibility reasons,
existing uses SHOULD
be replaced with hmac-sha256 or other SHA-2
digest algorithms ([FIPS180-4], [RFC3874
Use of TSIG between two DNS agents is by mutual agreement. That
agreement can include the support of additional algorithms and
criteria as to which algorithms and truncations are acceptable,
subject to the restriction and guidelines in Section 188.8.131.52
agreement can be by the TKEY mechanism [RFC2930
] or some other
mutually agreeable method.
Implementations that support TSIG MUST
also implement HMAC SHA1 and
HMAC SHA256 and MAY
implement gss-tsig and the other algorithms
listed below. SHA-1 truncated to 96 bits (12 octets) SHOULD
| Algorithm Name | Implementation | Use |
| HMAC-MD5.SIG-ALG.REG.INT | MAY
| MUST NOT
| gss-tsig | MAY
| hmac-sha1 | MUST
| NOT RECOMMENDED
| hmac-sha224 | MAY
| hmac-sha256 | MUST
| hmac-sha256-128 | MAY
| hmac-sha384 | MAY
| hmac-sha384-192 | MAY
| hmac-sha512 | MAY
| hmac-sha512-256 | MAY
Table 3: Algorithms for Implementations Supporting TSIG
7. TSIG Truncation Policy
As noted above, two DNS agents (e.g., resolver and server) must
mutually agree to use TSIG. Implicit in such an "agreement" are
criteria as to acceptable keys, algorithms, and (with the extensions
in this document) truncations. Local policies MAY
rejection of TSIGs, even though they use an algorithm for which
implementation is mandatory.
When a local policy permits acceptance of a TSIG with a particular
algorithm and a particular non-zero amount of truncation, it SHOULD
also permit the use of that algorithm with lesser truncation (a
longer MAC) up to the full keyed hash output.
Regardless of a lower acceptable truncated MAC length specified by
local policy, a reply SHOULD
be sent with a MAC at least as long as
that in the corresponding request. Note, if the request specified a
MAC length longer than the keyed hash output, it will be rejected by
processing rules (Section 184.108.40.206
, case 1).
Implementations permitting multiple acceptable algorithms and/or
permit this list to be ordered by presumed
strength and SHOULD
allow different truncations for the same
algorithm to be treated as separate entities in this list. When so
implemented, policies SHOULD
accept a presumed stronger algorithm and
truncation than the minimum strength required by the policy.
8. Shared Secrets
Secret keys are very sensitive information and all available steps
should be taken to protect them on every host on which they are
stored. Generally, such hosts need to be physically protected. If
they are multi-user machines, great care should be taken so that
unprivileged users have no access to keying material. Resolvers
often run unprivileged, which means all users of a host would be able
to see whatever configuration data are used by the resolver.
A name server usually runs privileged, which means its configuration
data need not be visible to all users of the host. For this reason,
a host that implements transaction-based authentication should
probably be configured with a "stub resolver" and a local caching and
forwarding name server. This presents a special problem for
], which otherwise depends on clients to communicate only
with a zone's authoritative name servers.
Use of strong, random shared secrets is essential to the security of
TSIG. See [RFC4086
] for a discussion of this issue. The secret SHOULD
be at least as long as the keyed hash output [RFC2104
9. IANA Considerations
IANA maintains a registry of algorithm names to be used as "Algorithm
Names", as defined in Section 4.2
[IANA-TSIG]. Algorithm names are
text strings encoded using the syntax of a domain name. There is no
structure to the names, and algorithm names are compared as if they
were DNS names, i.e., comparison is case insensitive. Previous
] and [RFC4635
]) defined values for the HMAC-
MD5 and some HMAC-SHA algorithms. IANA has also registered "gss-
tsig" as an identifier for TSIG authentication where the
cryptographic operations are delegated to the Generic Security
Service (GSS) [RFC3645
]. This document adds to the allowed
algorithms, and the registry has been updated with the names listed
in Table 3.
New algorithms are assigned using the IETF Review policy defined in
]. The algorithm name HMAC-MD5.SIG-ALG.REG.INT looks like a
fully qualified domain name for historical reasons; other algorithm
names are simple, single-component names.
IANA maintains a registry of RCODEs (error codes) (see [IANA-RCODEs],
including "TSIG Error values" to be used for "Error" values, as
defined in Section 4.2
. This document defines the RCODEs as
described in Section 3
. New error codes are assigned and specified
as in [RFC6895
10. Security Considerations
The approach specified here is computationally much less expensive
than the signatures specified in DNSSEC. As long as the shared
secret key is not compromised, strong authentication is provided
between two DNS systems, e.g., for the last hop from a local name
server to the user resolver or between primary and secondary name
Recommendations for choosing and maintaining secret keys can be found
]. If the client host has been compromised, the server
should suspend the use of all secrets known to that client. If
possible, secrets should be stored in an encrypted form. Secrets
should never be transmitted in the clear over any network. This
document does not address the issue on how to distribute secrets
except that it mentions the possibilities of manual configuration and
the use of TKEY [RFC2930
]. Secrets SHOULD NOT
be shared by more than
two entities; any such additional sharing would allow any party
knowing the key to impersonate any other such party to members of the
This mechanism does not authenticate source data, only its
transmission between two parties who share some secret. The original
source data can come from a compromised zone master or can be
corrupted during transit from an authentic zone master to some
"caching forwarder". However, if the server is faithfully performing
the full DNSSEC security checks, then only security-checked data will
be available to the client.
A Fudge value that is too large may leave the server open to replay
attacks. A Fudge value that is too small may cause failures if
machines are not time synchronized or there are unexpected network
delays. The RECOMMENDED
value in most situations is 300 seconds.
To prevent cross-algorithm attacks, there SHOULD
only be one
algorithm associated with any given key name.
In several cases where errors are detected, an unsigned error message
must be returned. This can allow for an attacker to spoof or
manipulate these responses. Section 5.4
recommends logging these as
errors and continuing to wait for a signed response until the request
Although the strength of an algorithm determines its security, there
have been some arguments that mild truncation can strengthen a MAC by
reducing the information available to an attacker. However,
excessive truncation clearly weakens authentication by reducing the
number of bits an attacker has to try to break the authentication by
brute force [RFC2104
Significant progress has been made recently in cryptanalysis of hash
functions of the types used here. While the results so far should
not affect HMAC, the stronger SHA-256 algorithm is being made
mandatory as a precaution.
See also the Security Considerations section of [RFC2104
] from which
the limits on truncation in this RFC were taken.
10.1. Issue Fixed in This Document
When signing a DNS reply message using TSIG, the MAC computation uses
the request message's MAC as an input to cryptographically relate the
reply to the request. The original TSIG specification [RFC2845
required that the time values be checked before the request's MAC.
If the time was invalid, some implementations failed to carry out
further checks and could use an invalid request MAC in the signed
This document makes it mandatory that the request MAC is considered
to be invalid until it has been validated; until then, any answer
must be unsigned. For this reason, the request MAC is now checked
before the time values.
10.2. Why Not DNSSEC?
DNS has been extended by DNSSEC ([RFC4033
], and [RFC4035
to provide for data origin authentication, and public key
distribution, all based on public key cryptography and public key
based digital signatures. To be practical, this form of security
generally requires extensive local caching of keys and tracing of
authentication through multiple keys and signatures to a pre-trusted
locally configured key.
One difficulty with the DNSSEC scheme is that common DNS
implementations include simple "stub" resolvers which do not have
caches. Such resolvers typically rely on a caching DNS server on
another host. It is impractical for these stub resolvers to perform
general DNSSEC authentication and they would naturally depend on
their caching DNS server to perform such services for them. To do so
securely requires secure communication of queries and responses.
DNSSEC provides public key transaction signatures to support this,
but such signatures are very expensive computationally to generate.
In general, these require the same complex public key logic that is
impractical for stubs.
A second area where use of straight DNSSEC public key based
mechanisms may be impractical is authenticating dynamic update
] requests. DNSSEC provides for request signatures but with
DNSSEC they, like transaction signatures, require computationally
expensive public key cryptography and complex authentication logic.
Secure Domain Name System Dynamic Update ([RFC3007
]) describes how
different keys are used in dynamically updated zones.
11.1. Normative References
National Institute of Standards and Technology, "Secure
Hash Standard (SHS)", FIPS PUB 180-4,
DOI 10.6028/NIST.FIPS.180-4, August 2015,
] Mockapetris, P., "Domain names - concepts and facilities",
STD 13, RFC 1034
, DOI 10.17487/RFC1034
, November 1987,
] Mockapetris, P., "Domain names - implementation and
specification", STD 13, RFC 1035
, DOI 10.17487/RFC1035
November 1987, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc1035
] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119
, March 1997,
] Vixie, P., Gudmundsson, O., Eastlake 3rd, D., and B.
Wellington, "Secret Key Transaction Authentication for DNS
(TSIG)", RFC 2845
, DOI 10.17487/RFC2845
, May 2000,
] Gustafsson, A., "Handling of Unknown DNS Resource Record
(RR) Types", RFC 3597
, DOI 10.17487/RFC3597
] Eastlake 3rd, D., "HMAC SHA (Hashed Message Authentication
Code, Secure Hash Algorithm) TSIG Algorithm Identifiers", RFC 4635
, DOI 10.17487/RFC4635
, August 2006,
] Leiba, B., "Ambiguity of Uppercase vs Lowercase in RFC 2119
Key Words", BCP 14, RFC 8174
, DOI 10.17487/RFC8174
May 2017, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8174
11.2. Informative References
Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures, "CVE-2017-11104:
Improper TSIG validity period check can allow TSIG
forgery", June 2017, <https://cve.mitre.org/cgi-bin/
Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures, "CVE-2017-3142: An
error in TSIG authentication can permit unauthorized zone
transfers", June 2017, <https://cve.mitre.org/cgi-bin/
Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures, "CVE-2017-3143: An
error in TSIG authentication can permit unauthorized
dynamic updates", June 2017, <https://cve.mitre.org/cgi-
IANA, "DNS RCODEs",
IANA, "TSIG Algorithm Names",
] Rivest, R., "The MD5 Message-Digest Algorithm", RFC 1321
, April 1992,
] Krawczyk, H., Bellare, M., and R. Canetti, "HMAC: Keyed-
Hashing for Message Authentication", RFC 2104
, February 1997,
] Vixie, P., Ed., Thomson, S., Rekhter, Y., and J. Bound,
"Dynamic Updates in the Domain Name System (DNS UPDATE)", RFC 2136
, DOI 10.17487/RFC2136
, April 1997,
] Eastlake 3rd, D., "Secret Key Establishment for DNS (TKEY
RR)", RFC 2930
, DOI 10.17487/RFC2930
, September 2000,
] Wellington, B., "Secure Domain Name System (DNS) Dynamic
Update", RFC 3007
, DOI 10.17487/RFC3007
, November 2000,
] Eastlake 3rd, D. and P. Jones, "US Secure Hash Algorithm 1
(SHA1)", RFC 3174
, DOI 10.17487/RFC3174
, September 2001,
] Kwan, S., Garg, P., Gilroy, J., Esibov, L., Westhead, J.,
and R. Hall, "Generic Security Service Algorithm for
Secret Key Transaction Authentication for DNS (GSS-TSIG)", RFC 3645
, DOI 10.17487/RFC3645
, October 2003,
] Housley, R., "A 224-bit One-way Hash Function: SHA-224", RFC 3874
, DOI 10.17487/RFC3874
, September 2004,
] Arends, R., Austein, R., Larson, M., Massey, D., and S.
Rose, "DNS Security Introduction and Requirements", RFC 4033
, DOI 10.17487/RFC4033
, March 2005,
] Arends, R., Austein, R., Larson, M., Massey, D., and S.
Rose, "Resource Records for the DNS Security Extensions", RFC 4034
, DOI 10.17487/RFC4034
, March 2005,
] Arends, R., Austein, R., Larson, M., Massey, D., and S.
Rose, "Protocol Modifications for the DNS Security
Extensions", RFC 4035
, DOI 10.17487/RFC4035
, March 2005,
] Eastlake 3rd, D., Schiller, J., and S. Crocker,
"Randomness Requirements for Security", BCP 106, RFC 4086
, June 2005,
] Kelly, S. and S. Frankel, "Using HMAC-SHA-256, HMAC-SHA-
384, and HMAC-SHA-512 with IPsec", RFC 4868
, May 2007,
] Turner, S. and L. Chen, "Updated Security Considerations
for the MD5 Message-Digest and the HMAC-MD5 Algorithms", RFC 6151
, DOI 10.17487/RFC6151
, March 2011,
] Eastlake 3rd, D. and T. Hansen, "US Secure Hash Algorithms
(SHA and SHA-based HMAC and HKDF)", RFC 6234
, May 2011,
] Eastlake 3rd, D., "Domain Name System (DNS) IANA
Considerations", BCP 42, RFC 6895
, DOI 10.17487/RFC6895
April 2013, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc6895
] Housley, R., "Guidelines for Cryptographic Algorithm
Agility and Selecting Mandatory-to-Implement Algorithms",
BCP 201, RFC 7696
, DOI 10.17487/RFC7696
, November 2015,
] Cotton, M., Leiba, B., and T. Narten, "Guidelines for
Writing an IANA Considerations Section in RFCs", BCP 26, RFC 8126
, DOI 10.17487/RFC8126
, June 2017,
Leurent, G. and T. Peyrin, "SHA-1 is a Shambles", January
The security problem addressed by this document was reported by
Clément Berthaux from Synacktiv.
Peter van Dijk, Benno Overeinder, Willem Toroop, Ondrej Sury, Mukund
Sivaraman, and Ralph Dolmans participated in the discussions that
prompted this document. Mukund Sivaraman, Martin Hoffman, and Tony
Finch made extremely helpful suggestions concerning the structure and
wording of the updated document.
Stephen Morris would like to thank Internet Systems Consortium for
its support of his participation in the creation of this document.
Internet Systems Consortium, Inc.
PO Box 360
Newmarket, NH 03857
United States of America
Farsight Security Inc
177 Bovet Road
San Mateo, CA 94402
United States of America
Donald E. Eastlake 3rd
2386 Panoramic Circle
Apopka, FL 32703
United States of America
United States of America
United States of America