DNS Attack Puts Web Security in Perspective

    Date16 Feb 2007
    Posted ByBill Keys
    A few years ago, I had the privilege of seeing some root DNS servers in action at VeriSign's main headquarters. It's something I had wanted to do for over a decade, and I was literally slightly shaking with excitement (yes, I am that big of a geek).

    Physical security was high. It took three-factor authentication to get me past the two mantraps and the bomb-blast protected walls. My escort had to use handprint geometry, a PIN, a smart card, and a retinal scan to get me into the inner sanctum.

    Turns out VeriSign's DNS root servers at this location are composed of two physically separate, 10-high stacked, 1U pizza-box-style IBM eServers (VeriSign said they tested many different servers, and IBM's gave them the best performance per dollar), running Solaris and Red Hat Linux. Not surprisingly, they don't run BIND and keep things intentionally diverse to protect against a platform-specific attack.

    Watching the network lights rapidly blink under millions of transactions per second was a blast. Did I mention I was a geek?

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