Re: [DNSOP] Resolver behaviour with multiple trust anchors

Matt Larson <> Thu, 02 November 2017 14:41 UTC

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From: Matt Larson <>
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Date: Thu, 02 Nov 2017 10:41:35 -0400
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To: Paul Wouters <>, Ed Lewis <>, Moritz Muller <>, Ólafur Guðmundsson <>, "" <>
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Subject: Re: [DNSOP] Resolver behaviour with multiple trust anchors
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The root KSK rollover project has given me a real appreciation for the brittleness of trust anchor configuration, even with RFC 5011. (Automated update support should get better over time, especially after the first KSK roll exposes problems, but right now it's pretty shaky, which is my informed opinion based on observation from the operational trenches.) In the real world, where trust anchors are going to go stale, an "Accept Any Success" (in the language of Appendix C) trust anchor policy is the safest operationally.

I agree with Ed's observation that operators are, by and large, going to use the defaults in whatever implementation they're running, so defaults are important.

Trust is always going to be a matter of local policy, so with DNSSEC there's never going to be a consistent output given a consistent input. The best we can do is give good guidance to implementors, ideally based on operational experience, to inform their choices for the default settings that operators will end up using.

I think RFC 6840 gets it right: it acknowledges that trust anchor preference is a matter of local policy, but recommends an operationally safe default of "Accept Any Success".

Why would one want a "Closest Encloser" trust anchor preference policy? I've heard two reasons in this thread:

1. The untrusted parent scenario: I submit there's no practical implication of distinguishing between the parent's control of the delegation and its control of the DS: the child zone is completely at the will of the parent zone, so if your parent has it in for you, you lose. This scenario is not sufficient motivation, in my opinion, to suggest "Closest Encloser" as a default policy.

2. In a split DNS context, reject answers that leak into the wrong view: I think using DNSSEC as a backstop to enforce split DNS policy is a dubious operational practice and likewise not sufficient motivation to suggest "Closest Encloser" as a default policy.

In my perfect world, implementations would offer a knob to set "Closest Encloser" for consenting adults but default to "Accept Any Success".