Addressing the challenges of modern DNS: a comprehensive tutorial

Olivier van der Toorn*, Moritz Müller, Sara Dickinson, Cristian Hesselman, Anna Sperotto, Roland van Rijswijk - Deij

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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The Domain Name System (DNS) plays a crucial role in connecting services and users on the Internet. Since its first specification, DNS has been extended in numerous documents to keep it fit for today’s challenges and demands. And these challenges are many. Revelations of snooping on DNS traffic led to changes to guarantee confidentiality of DNS queries. Attacks to forge DNS traffic led to changes to shore up the integrity of the DNS. Finally, denial-of-service attack on DNS operations have led to new DNS operations architectures. All of these developments make DNS a highly interesting, but also highly challenging research topic. This tutorial – aimed at graduate students and early-career researchers – provides a overview of the modern DNS, its ongoing development and its open challenges. This tutorial has four major contributions. We first provide a comprehensive overview of the DNS protocol. Then, we explain how DNS is deployed in practice. This lays the foundation for the third contribution: a review of the biggest challenges the modern DNS faces today and how they can be addressed. These challenges are (i) protecting the confidentiality and (ii) guaranteeing the integrity of the information provided in the DNS, (iii) ensuring the availability of the DNS infrastructure, and (iv) detecting and preventing attacks that make use of the DNS. Last, we discuss which challenges remain open, pointing the reader towards new research areas.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100469
JournalComputer science review
Early online date30 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • DNS
  • Security
  • Availability
  • Internet abuse
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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