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Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2005 17:37:35 -0700
From: Antone Roundy <>
Subject: Re: DNS query spam

On Nov 27, 2005, at 3:30 PM, Piotr Kamisiski wrote:
> Recently my DNS servers get jammed with bogus queries. The attacks  
> come in series, taking a few minutes each, sometimes from different  
> IPs at the same time, at least twice a day.
> <snap>
> 23:05:40.241026 IP > xx.xx.xx.xx.53:  38545+  
> [1au] ANY ANY? (40)
> 23:05:41.600902 IP > xx.xx.xx.xx.53:  22242+  
> [1au] ANY ANY? (40)
> 23:05:42.091743 IP > xx.xx.xx.xx.53:  64644+  
> [1au] ANY ANY? (40)
> 23:05:43.433539 IP > xx.xx.xx.xx.53:  31772+  
> [1au] ANY ANY? (40)
> 23:05:43.854481 IP > xx.xx.xx.xx.53:  33470+  
> [1au] ANY ANY? (40)
> 23:05:44.378640 IP > xx.xx.xx.xx.53:  8726+  
> [1au] ANY ANY? (40)
> 23:05:45.368970 IP > xx.xx.xx.xx.53:  1073+  
> [1au] ANY ANY? (40)
> 23:05:45.379251 IP > xx.xx.xx.xx.53:  22257+  
> [1au] ANY ANY? (40)
> <snap>
> Has anyone noticed a similar activity?

I was seeing this kind of thing last month.  I suspect that it's part  
of a DDoS attack on the IP address that the queries claim to come  
from, but it could also be an attack on your DNS server.  The idea is  
that the attacker sends a small bogus DNS query on UDP port 53 with a  
bogus IP address.  Your server then sends a much larger response to  
that IP address, greatly multiplying the amount of traffic that the  
attacker can direct at the target site.  This occurs via UDP since  
that makes it easy to spoof the source address.

Assuming you use Bind, can edit your named.conf file, only wish to  
provide recursive DNS services (ie. handle queries for domains that  
you are not authoritative for) to a known range of IP addresses, and  
the query is for a domain that you're not authoritative for, you can  
solve the problem by adding something like this to named.conf:

options {
    allow-recursion {; };

That particular setting would cause Bind to ignore recursive queries  
from all IP addresses except (localhost).  My DNS server  
only provides recursive queries for itself, so the setting was easy  
for me.  After I started blocking recursive queries, it took a week  
or so for the bogus traffic to stop.  But in the mean time, since I  
wasn't sending responses, the amount of my bandwidth that was wasted  
decreased dramatically.

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