DNSSEC validating resolver on machines without RTC or wrong date
pemensik at redhat.com
Sat Apr 15 22:48:59 UTC 2023
Hi unbound users,
I maintain unbound on Fedora and RHEL. I met some question on some
Fedora channel about problems with NTP service. It turned out the
problem of that user lied were in DNSSEC validating resolver and wrong
time on his machine. Like significantly wrong date, which made DNSSEC
validation fail because some timestamp on RRSIG did not fail.
I would like to have DNSSEC validation on a machine good default choice.
Or at least possible. I consider it a problem that this wrong date will
*not* fix automatically in otherwise default configuration.
Like many other systems, Fedora tries to use chrony service to use NTP
to synchronize and correct the time. Problem is unless the user has
configured fixed IP or NTP servers were provided by DHCP, it needs to do
DNS resolution. Fedora uses 2.fedora.pool.ntp.org. ntp.org is not
signed, but org. has to pass validation. It will never success if the
date is wrong and the cache is already up, therefore the system relies
I think it is a technical problem there is dependency loop. DNSSEC needs
at least roughly correct time in for unbound (or any validating
resolver) to deliver IP for NTP server. It would fix the system time,
fixing the validation failures. But until someone fixes the system time
to pass root and org. domains validation, it cannot contact configured
ntp service to obtain current time.
I would like to ask opinions how this should be fixed to autocorrect
auto-magically. I am aware unbound is more usually used on servers,
which should keep time synced on boot and are not powered off for
extended time. But I think it is a good choice also for workstations.
* should initial NTP service request names with CD flag set, requesting
any validation ignored for its queries? The problem I see those services
use getaddrinfo() calls, which do not offer a way to set CD flags only
for some request. It seems to me DNS-only resolution library should not
be required in time synchronization service
* should system resolver always disable DNSSEC validation on early start
and enable it only after initial time synchronization passed? I think it
makes it possible by insecure domain . defined on start. Then when time
is successfully obtained, it can switch validation on by
"unbound-control insecure_remove ." command. I think it would be risky,
because initial cache should be revalidated on such switch and bogus
answers should be flushed. Not sure it is possible with current code.
* possible workaround would be time synchronization service having fixed
IP address instead of name. It might save last used addresses on
shutdown and use it in case initial name query failed. That might work
on raspberry-pi like devices, but does not solve the first boot after
the installation. That should be good compromise between fixed address.
I think even if we choose to use DNS over TLS without DNSSEC, the
problem with initial wrong time stays on its certificate check. Is there
a way to fix it in that case?
Do you have other ideas how should DNSSEC validation fixed on end
workstations? How it should obtain time in secure way and not dropping
validation entirely? Is there already a best practice for it? Should
unbound support mode where it would check just signatures, but not
Please share any comments you may have, thank you.
Software Engineer, RHEL
Red Hat, https://www.redhat.com/
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