Common Misbehavior Against DNS Queries for IPv6 Addresses
RFC 4074

Document Type RFC - Informational (June 2005; No errata)
Last updated 2013-03-02
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IESG IESG state RFC 4074 (Informational)
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Responsible AD David Kessens
IESG note Participant in PROTO Team pilot: Workgroup Chair Followup of AD Evaluation Comments
RFC 4074
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Network Working Group                                       Y. Morishita
Request for Comments: 4074                                          JPRS
Category: Informational                                        T. Jinmei
                                                                May 2005

       Common Misbehavior Against DNS Queries for IPv6 Addresses

Status of This Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
   memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2005).


   There is some known misbehavior of DNS authoritative servers when
   they are queried for AAAA resource records.  Such behavior can block
   IPv4 communication that should actually be available, cause a
   significant delay in name resolution, or even make a denial of
   service attack.  This memo describes details of known cases and
   discusses their effects.

1.  Introduction

   Many existing DNS clients (resolvers) that support IPv6 first search
   for AAAA Resource Records (RRs) of a target host name, and then for A
   RRs of the same name.  This fallback mechanism is based on the DNS
   specifications, which if not obeyed by authoritative servers, can
   produce unpleasant results.  In some cases, for example, a web
   browser fails to connect to a web server it could otherwise reach.
   In the following sections, this memo describes some typical cases of
   such misbehavior and its (bad) effects.

   Note that the misbehavior is not specific to AAAA RRs.  In fact, all
   known examples also apply to the cases of queries for MX, NS, and SOA
   RRs.  The authors believe this can be generalized for all types of
   queries other than those for A RRs.  In this memo, however, we
   concentrate on the case for AAAA queries, since the problem is
   particularly severe for resolvers that support IPv6, which thus
   affects many end users.  Resolvers at end users normally send A
   and/or AAAA queries only, so the problem for the other cases is
   relatively minor.

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RFC 4074         Common Misbehavior Against DNS Queries         May 2005

2.  Network Model

   In this memo, we assume a typical network model of name resolution
   environment using DNS.  It consists of three components: stub
   resolvers, caching servers, and authoritative servers.  A stub
   resolver issues a recursive query to a caching server, which then
   handles the entire name resolution procedure recursively.  The
   caching server caches the result of the query and sends the result to
   the stub resolver.  The authoritative servers respond to queries for
   names for which they have the authority, normally in a non-recursive

3.  Expected Behavior

   Suppose that an authoritative server has an A RR but has no AAAA RR
   for a host name.  Then, the server should return a response to a
   query for an AAAA RR of the name with the response code (RCODE) being
   0 (indicating no error) and with an empty answer section (see
   Sections 4.3.2 and 6.2.4 of [1]).  Such a response indicates that
   there is at least one RR of a different type than AAAA for the
   queried name, and the stub resolver can then look for A RRs.

   This way, the caching server can cache the fact that the queried name
   has no AAAA RR (but may have other types of RRs), and thus improve
   the response time to further queries for an AAAA RR of the name.

4.  Problematic Behaviors

   There are some known cases at authoritative servers that do not
   conform to the expected behavior.  This section describes those
   problematic cases.

4.1.  Ignore Queries for AAAA

   Some authoritative servers seem to ignore queries for an AAAA RR,
   causing a delay at the stub resolver to fall back to a query for an A
   RR.  This behavior may cause a fatal timeout at the resolver or at
   the application that calls the resolver.  Even if the resolver
   eventually falls back, the result can be an unacceptable delay for
   the application user, especially with interactive applications like
   web browsing.

4.2.  Return "Name Error"

   This type of server returns a response with RCODE 3 ("Name Error") to
   a query for an AAAA RR, indicating that it does not have any RRs of
   any type for the queried name.

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RFC 4074         Common Misbehavior Against DNS Queries         May 2005

   With this response, the stub resolver may immediately give up and
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