Skip to main content

DNS-Based Service Discovery (DNS-SD) Privacy and Security Requirements
RFC 8882

Document Type RFC - Informational (September 2020)
Authors Christian Huitema , Daniel Kaiser
Last updated 2020-09-10
RFC stream Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
Additional resources Mailing list discussion
IESG Responsible AD Éric Vyncke
Send notices to (None)
RFC 8882

Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)                        C. Huitema
Request for Comments: 8882                          Private Octopus Inc.
Category: Informational                                        D. Kaiser
ISSN: 2070-1721                                 University of Luxembourg
                                                          September 2020

 DNS-Based Service Discovery (DNS-SD) Privacy and Security Requirements


   DNS-SD (DNS-based Service Discovery) normally discloses information
   about devices offering and requesting services.  This information
   includes hostnames, network parameters, and possibly a further
   description of the corresponding service instance.  Especially when
   mobile devices engage in DNS-based Service Discovery at a public
   hotspot, serious privacy problems arise.  We analyze the requirements
   of a privacy-respecting discovery service.

Status of This Memo

   This document is not an Internet Standards Track specification; it is
   published for informational purposes.

   This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force
   (IETF).  It represents the consensus of the IETF community.  It has
   received public review and has been approved for publication by the
   Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG).  Not all documents
   approved by the IESG are candidates for any level of Internet
   Standard; see Section 2 of RFC 7841.

   Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
   and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2020 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   ( in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.  Code Components extracted from this document must
   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction
   2.  Threat Model
   3.  Threat Analysis
     3.1.  Service Discovery Scenarios
       3.1.1.  Private Client and Public Server
       3.1.2.  Private Client and Private Server
       3.1.3.  Wearable Client and Server
     3.2.  DNS-SD Privacy Considerations
       3.2.1.  Information Made Available Via DNS-SD Resource Records
       3.2.2.  Privacy Implication of Publishing Service Instance
       3.2.3.  Privacy Implication of Publishing Node Names
       3.2.4.  Privacy Implication of Publishing Service Attributes
       3.2.5.  Device Fingerprinting
       3.2.6.  Privacy Implication of Discovering Services
     3.3.  Security Considerations
       3.3.1.  Authenticity, Integrity, and Freshness
       3.3.2.  Confidentiality
       3.3.3.  Resistance to Dictionary Attacks
       3.3.4.  Resistance to Denial-of-Service Attacks
       3.3.5.  Resistance to Sender Impersonation
       3.3.6.  Sender Deniability
     3.4.  Operational Considerations
       3.4.1.  Power Management
       3.4.2.  Protocol Efficiency
       3.4.3.  Secure Initialization and Trust Models
       3.4.4.  External Dependencies
   4.  Requirements for a DNS-SD Privacy Extension
     4.1.  Private Client Requirements
     4.2.  Private Server Requirements
     4.3.  Security and Operation
   5.  IANA Considerations
   6.  References
     6.1.  Normative References
     6.2.  Informative References
   Authors' Addresses

1.  Introduction

   DNS-Based Service Discovery (DNS-SD) [RFC6763] over Multicast DNS
   (mDNS) [RFC6762] enables zero-configuration service discovery in
   local networks.  It is very convenient for users, but it requires the
   public exposure of the offering and requesting identities along with
   information about the offered and requested services.  Parts of the
   published information can seriously breach the user's privacy.  These
   privacy issues and potential solutions are discussed in [KW14a],
   [KW14b], and [K17].  While the multicast nature of mDNS makes these
   risks obvious, most risks derive from the observability of
   transactions.  These risks also need to be mitigated when using
   server-based variants of DNS-SD.

   There are cases when nodes connected to a network want to provide or
   consume services without exposing their identities to the other
   parties connected to the same network.  Consider, for example, a
   traveler wanting to upload pictures from a phone to a laptop when
   both are connected to the Wi-Fi network of an Internet cafe, or two
   travelers who want to share files between their laptops when waiting
   for their plane in an airport lounge.

   We expect that these exchanges will start with a discovery procedure
   using DNS-SD over mDNS.  One of the devices will publish the
   availability of a service, such as a picture library or a file store
   in our examples.  The user of the other device will discover this
   service and then connect to it.

   When analyzing these scenarios in Section 3.1, we find that the DNS-
   SD messages leak identifying information, such as the Service
   Instance Name, the hostname, or service properties.  We use the
   following definitions:

      In this document, the term "identity" refers to the identity of
      the entity (legal person) operating a device.

   Disclosing an Identity
      In this document, "disclosing an identity" means showing the
      identity of operating entities to devices external to the
      discovery process, e.g., devices on the same network link that are
      listening to the network traffic but are not actually involved in
      the discovery process.  This document focuses on identity
      disclosure by data conveyed via messages on the service discovery
      protocol layer.  Still, identity leaks on deeper layers, e.g., the
      IP layer, are mentioned.

   Disclosing Information
      In this document, "disclosing information" is also focused on
      disclosure of data conveyed via messages on the service discovery
      protocol layer, including both identity-revealing information and
      other still potentially sensitive data.

2.  Threat Model

   This document considers the following attacker types sorted by
   increasing power.  All these attackers can either be passive (they
   just listen to network traffic they have access to) or active (they
   additionally can craft and send malicious packets).

      An external attacker is not on the same network link as victim
      devices engaging in service discovery; thus, the external attacker
      is in a different multicast domain.

      An on-link attacker is on the same network link as victim devices
      engaging in service discovery; thus, the on-link attacker is in
      the same multicast domain.  This attacker can also mount all
      attacks an external attacker can mount.

      A Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacker either controls (parts of) a
      network link or can trick two parties to send traffic via the
      attacker; thus, the MITM attacker has access to unicast traffic
      between devices engaging in service discovery.  This attacker can
      also mount all attacks an on-link attacker can mount.

3.  Threat Analysis

   In this section, we analyze how the attackers described in the
   previous section might threaten the privacy of entities operating
   devices engaging in service discovery.  We focus on attacks
   leveraging data transmitted in service discovery protocol messages.

3.1.  Service Discovery Scenarios

   In this section, we review common service discovery scenarios and
   discuss privacy threats and their privacy requirements.  In all three
   of these common scenarios, the attacker is of the type passive on-

3.1.1.  Private Client and Public Server

   Perhaps the simplest private discovery scenario involves a single
   client connecting to a public server through a public network.  A
   common example would be a traveler using a publicly available printer
   in a business center, in a hotel, or at an airport.

                                        ( Taking notes:
                                        ( David is printing
                                        ( a document.
            ___                                        o   ___
           /   \                                         _|___|_
           |   |   client                server           |* *|
            \_/      __                                    \_/
             |      / /   Discovery   +----------+          |
            /|\    /_/  <-----------> |  +----+  |         /|\
           / | \__/                   +--|    |--+        / | \
          /  |                           |____/          /  |  \
         /   |                                          /   |   \
            / \                                            / \
           /   \                                          /   \
          /     \                                        /     \
         /       \                                      /       \
        /         \                                    /         \

           David                                        Adversary

   In that scenario, the server is public and wants to be discovered,
   but the client is private.  The adversary will be listening to the
   network traffic, trying to identify the visitors' devices and their
   activity.  Identifying devices leads to identifying people, either
   for surveillance of these individuals in the physical world or as a
   preliminary step for a targeted cyber attack.

   The requirement in that scenario is that the discovery activity
   should not disclose the identity of the client.

3.1.2.  Private Client and Private Server

   The second private discovery scenario involves a private client
   connecting to a private server.  A common example would be two people
   engaging in a collaborative application in a public place, such as an
   airport's lounge.

                                           ( Taking notes:
                                           ( David is meeting
                                           ( with Stuart.
            ___                               ___         o   ___
           /   \                             /   \          _|___|_
           |   |   server          client    |   |           |* *|
            \_/      __               __      \_/             \_/
             |      / /   Discovery   \ \      |               |
            /|\    /_/  <----------->  \_\    /|\             /|\
           / | \__/                       \__/ | \           / | \
          /  |                                 |  \         /  |  \
         /   |                                 |   \       /   |   \
            / \                               / \             / \
           /   \                             /   \           /   \
          /     \                           /     \         /     \
         /       \                         /       \       /       \
        /         \                       /         \     /         \

          David                              Stuart        Adversary

   In that scenario, the collaborative application on one of the devices
   will act as a server, and the application on the other device will
   act as a client.  The server wants to be discovered by the client but
   has no desire to be discovered by anyone else.  The adversary will be
   listening to network traffic, attempting to discover the identity of
   devices as in the first scenario and also attempting to discover the
   patterns of traffic, as these patterns reveal the business and social
   interactions between the owners of the devices.

   The requirement in that scenario is that the discovery activity
   should not disclose the identity of either the client or the server
   nor reveal the business and social interactions between the owners of
   the devices.

3.1.3.  Wearable Client and Server

   The third private discovery scenario involves wearable devices.  A
   typical example would be the watch on someone's wrist connecting to
   the phone in their pocket.

                                        ( Taking notes:
                                        ( David is here. His watch is
                                        ( talking to his phone.
            ___                                         o  ___
           /   \                                         _|___|_
           |   |   client                                 |* *|
            \_/                                            \_/
             |     _/                                       |
            /|\   //                                       /|\
           / | \__/  ^                                    / | \
          /  |__     | Discovery                         /  |  \
         /   |\ \    v                                  /   |   \
            / \\_\                                         / \
           /   \   server                                 /   \
          /     \                                        /     \
         /       \                                      /       \
        /         \                                    /         \

           David                                        Adversary

   This third scenario is in many ways similar to the second scenario.
   It involves two devices, one acting as server and the other acting as
   client, and it leads to the same requirement of the discovery traffic
   not disclosing the identity of either the client or the server.  The
   main difference is that the devices are managed by a single owner,
   which can lead to different methods for establishing secure relations
   between the devices.  There is also an added emphasis on hiding the
   type of devices that the person wears.

   In addition to tracking the identity of the owner of the devices, the
   adversary is interested in the characteristics of the devices, such
   as type, brand, and model.  Identifying the type of device can lead
   to further attacks, from theft to device-specific hacking.  The
   combination of devices worn by the same person will also provide a
   "fingerprint" of the person, risking identification.

   This scenario also represents the general case of bringing private
   Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices into public places.  A wearable IoT
   device might act as a DNS-SD/mDNS client, which allows attackers to
   infer information about devices' owners.  While the attacker might be
   a person, as in the example figure, this could also be abused for
   large-scale data collection installing stationary IoT-device-tracking
   servers in frequented public places.

   The issues described in Section 3.1.1, such as identifying people or
   using the information for targeted attacks, apply here too.

3.2.  DNS-SD Privacy Considerations

   While the discovery process illustrated in the scenarios in
   Section 3.1 most likely would be based on [RFC6762] as a means for
   making service information available, this document considers all
   kinds of means for making DNS-SD resource records available.  These
   means comprise of but are not limited to mDNS [RFC6762], DNS servers
   ([RFC1033], [RFC1034], and [RFC1035]), the use of Service
   Registration Protocol (SRP) [SRP], and multi-link [RFC7558] networks.

   The discovery scenarios in Section 3.1 illustrate three separate
   abstract privacy requirements that vary based on the use case.  These
   are not limited to mDNS.

   1.  Client identity privacy: Client identities are not leaked during
       service discovery or use.

   2.  Multi-entity, mutual client and server identity privacy: Neither
       client nor server identities are leaked during service discovery
       or use.

   3.  Single-entity, mutual client and server identity privacy:
       Identities of clients and servers owned and managed by the same
       legal person are not leaked during service discovery or use.

   In this section, we describe aspects of DNS-SD that make these
   requirements difficult to achieve in practice.  While it is intended
   to be thorough, it is not possible to be exhaustive.

   Client identity privacy, if not addressed properly, can be thwarted
   by a passive attacker (see Section 2).  The type of passive attacker
   necessary depends on the means of making service information
   available.  Information conveyed via multicast messages can be
   obtained by an on-link attacker.  Unicast messages are harder to
   access, but if the transmission is not encrypted they could still be
   accessed by an attacker with access to network routers or bridges.
   Using multi-link service discovery solutions [RFC7558], external
   attackers have to be taken into consideration as well, e.g., when
   relaying multicast messages to other links.

   Server identity privacy can be thwarted by a passive attacker in the
   same way as client identity privacy.  Additionally, active attackers
   querying for information have to be taken into consideration as well.
   This is mainly relevant for unicast-based discovery, where listening
   to discovery traffic requires a MITM attacker; however, an external
   active attacker might be able to learn the server identity by just
   querying for service information, e.g., via DNS.

3.2.1.  Information Made Available Via DNS-SD Resource Records

   DNS-Based Service Discovery (DNS-SD) is defined in [RFC6763].  It
   allows nodes to publish the availability of an instance of a service
   by inserting specific records in the DNS ([RFC1033], [RFC1034], and
   [RFC1035]) or by publishing these records locally using multicast DNS
   (mDNS) [RFC6762].  Available services are described using three types
   of records:

   PTR Record
      Associates a service type in the domain with an "instance" name of
      this service type.

   SRV Record
      Provides the node name, port number, priority and weight
      associated with the service instance, in conformance with

   TXT Record
      Provides a set of attribute-value pairs describing specific
      properties of the service instance.

3.2.2.  Privacy Implication of Publishing Service Instance Names

   In the first phase of discovery, clients obtain all PTR records
   associated with a service type in a given naming domain.  Each PTR
   record contains a Service Instance Name defined in Section 4 of

     Service Instance Name = <Instance> . <Service> . <Domain>

   The <Instance> portion of the Service Instance Name is meant to
   convey enough information for users of discovery clients to easily
   select the desired service instance.  Nodes that use DNS-SD over mDNS
   [RFC6762] in a mobile environment will rely on the specificity of the
   instance name to identify the desired service instance.  In our
   example of users wanting to upload pictures to a laptop in an
   Internet cafe, the list of available service instances may look like:

   Alice's Images         . _imageStore._tcp . local
   Alice's Mobile Phone   . _presence._tcp   . local
   Alice's Notebook       . _presence._tcp   . local
   Bob's Notebook         . _presence._tcp   . local
   Carol's Notebook       . _presence._tcp   . local

   Alice will see the list on her phone and understand intuitively that
   she should pick the first item.  The discovery will "just work".
   (Note that our examples of service names conform to the specification
   in Section 4.1 of [RFC6763] but may require some character escaping
   when entered in conventional DNS software.)

   However, DNS-SD/mDNS will reveal to anybody that Alice is currently
   visiting the Internet cafe.  It further discloses the fact that she
   uses two devices, shares an image store, and uses a chat application
   supporting the _presence protocol on both of her devices.  She might
   currently chat with Bob or Carol, as they are also using a _presence
   supporting chat application.  This information is not just available
   to devices actively browsing for and offering services but to anybody
   passively listening to the network traffic, i.e., a passive on-link

   There is, of course, also no authentication requirement to claim a
   particular instance name, so an active attacker can provide resources
   that claim to be Alice's but are not.

3.2.3.  Privacy Implication of Publishing Node Names

   The SRV records contain the DNS name of the node publishing the
   service.  Typical implementations construct this DNS name by
   concatenating the "hostname" of the node with the name of the local
   domain.  The privacy implications of this practice are reviewed in
   [RFC8117].  Depending on naming practices, the hostname is either a
   strong identifier of the device or, at a minimum, a partial
   identifier.  It enables tracking of both the device and, by
   extension, the device's owner.

3.2.4.  Privacy Implication of Publishing Service Attributes

   The TXT record's attribute-value pairs contain information on the
   characteristics of the corresponding service instance.  This in turn
   reveals information about the devices that publish services.  The
   amount of information varies widely with the particular service and
   its implementation:

   *  Some attributes, such as the paper size available in a printer,
      are the same on many devices and thus only provide limited
      information to a tracker.

   *  Attributes that have free-form values, such as the name of a
      directory, may reveal much more information.

   Combinations of individual attributes have more information power
   than specific attributes and can potentially be used for
   "fingerprinting" a specific device.

   Information contained in TXT records not only breaches privacy by
   making devices trackable but might directly contain private
   information about the user.  For instance, the _presence service
   reveals the "chat status" to everyone in the same network.  Users
   might not be aware of that.

   Further, TXT records often contain version information about
   services, allowing potential attackers to identify devices running
   exploit-prone versions of a certain service.

3.2.5.  Device Fingerprinting

   The combination of information published in DNS-SD has the potential
   to provide a "fingerprint" of a specific device.  Such information

   *  A list of services published by the device, which can be retrieved
      because the SRV records will point to the same hostname.

   *  Specific attributes describing these services.

   *  Port numbers used by the services.

   *  Priority and weight attributes in the SRV records.

   This combination of services and attributes will often be sufficient
   to identify the version of the software running on a device.  If a
   device publishes many services with rich sets of attributes, the
   combination may be sufficient to identify the specific device and
   track its owner.

   An argument is sometimes made that devices providing services can be
   identified by observing the local traffic and that trying to hide the
   presence of the service is futile.  However, there are good reasons
   for the discovery service layer to avoid unnecessary exposure:

   1.  Providing privacy at the discovery layer is of the essence for
       enabling automatically configured privacy-preserving network
       applications.  Application layer protocols are not forced to
       leverage the offered privacy, but if device tracking is not
       prevented at the deeper layers, including the service discovery
       layer, obfuscating a certain service's protocol at the
       application layer is futile.

   2.  Further, in the case of mDNS-based discovery, even if the
       application layer does not protect privacy, services are
       typically provided via unicast, which requires a MITM attacker,
       whereas identifying services based on multicast discovery
       messages just requires an on-link attacker.

   The same argument can be extended to say that the pattern of services
   offered by a device allows for fingerprinting the device.  This may
   or may not be true, since we can expect that services will be
   designed or updated to avoid leaking fingerprints.  In any case, the
   design of the discovery service should avoid making a bad situation
   worse and should, as much as possible, avoid providing new
   fingerprinting information.

3.2.6.  Privacy Implication of Discovering Services

   The consumers of services engage in discovery and in doing so reveal
   some information, such as the list of services they are interested in
   and the domains in which they are looking for the services.  When the
   clients select specific instances of services, they reveal their
   preference for these instances.  This can be benign if the service
   type is very common, but it could be more problematic for sensitive
   services, such as some private messaging services.

   One way to protect clients would be to somehow encrypt the requested
   service types.  Of course, just as we noted in Section 3.2.5, traffic
   analysis can often reveal the service.

3.3.  Security Considerations

   For each of the operations described above, we must also consider
   security threats we are concerned about.

3.3.1.  Authenticity, Integrity, and Freshness

   Can devices (both servers and clients) trust the information they
   receive?  Has it been modified in flight by an adversary?  Can
   devices trust the source of the information?  Is the source of
   information fresh, i.e., not replayed?  Freshness may or may not be
   required depending on whether the discovery process is meant to be
   online.  In some cases, publishing discovery information to a shared
   directory or registry, rather than to each online recipient through a
   broadcast channel, may suffice.

3.3.2.  Confidentiality

   Confidentiality is about restricting information access to only
   authorized individuals.  Ideally, this should only be the appropriate
   trusted parties, though it can be challenging to define who are "the
   appropriate trusted parties."  In some use cases, this may mean that
   only mutually authenticated and trusting clients and servers can read
   messages sent for one another.  The process of service discovery in
   particular is often used to discover new entities that the device did
   not previously know about.  It may be tricky to work out how a device
   can have an established trust relationship with a new entity it has
   never previously communicated with.

3.3.3.  Resistance to Dictionary Attacks

   It can be tempting to use (publicly computable) hash functions to
   obscure sensitive identifiers.  This transforms a sensitive unique
   identifier, such as an email address, into a "scrambled" but still
   unique identifier.  Unfortunately, simple solutions may be vulnerable
   to offline dictionary attacks.

3.3.4.  Resistance to Denial-of-Service Attacks

   In any protocol where the receiver of messages has to perform
   cryptographic operations on those messages, there is a risk of a
   brute-force flooding attack causing the receiver to expend excessive
   amounts of CPU time and, where applicable, battery power just
   processing and discarding those messages.

   Also, amplification attacks have to be taken into consideration.
   Messages with larger payloads should only be sent as an answer to a
   query sent by a verified client.

3.3.5.  Resistance to Sender Impersonation

   Sender impersonation is an attack wherein messages, such as service
   offers, are forged by entities who do not possess the corresponding
   secret key material.  These attacks may be used to learn the identity
   of a communicating party, actively or passively.

3.3.6.  Sender Deniability

   Deniability of sender activity, e.g., of broadcasting a discovery
   request, may be desirable or necessary in some use cases.  This
   property ensures that eavesdroppers cannot prove senders issued a
   specific message destined for one or more peers.

3.4.  Operational Considerations

3.4.1.  Power Management

   Many modern devices, especially battery-powered devices, use power
   management techniques to conserve energy.  One such technique is for
   a device to transfer information about itself to a proxy, which will
   act on behalf of the device for some functions while the device
   itself goes to sleep to reduce power consumption.  When the proxy
   determines that some action is required, which only the device itself
   can perform, the proxy may have some way to wake the device, as
   described for example in [SLEEP-PROXY].

   In many cases, the device may not trust the network proxy
   sufficiently to share all its confidential key material with the
   proxy.  This poses challenges for combining private discovery that
   relies on per-query cryptographic operations with energy-saving
   techniques that rely on having (somewhat untrusted) network proxies
   answer queries on behalf of sleeping devices.

3.4.2.  Protocol Efficiency

   Creating a discovery protocol that has the desired security
   properties may result in a design that is not efficient.  To perform
   the necessary operations, the protocol may need to send and receive a
   large number of network packets or require an inordinate amount of
   multicast transmissions.  This may consume an unreasonable amount of
   network capacity, particularly problematic when it is a shared
   wireless spectrum.  Further, it may cause an unnecessary level of
   power consumption, which is particularly problematic on battery
   devices and may result in the discovery process being slow.

   It is a difficult challenge to design a discovery protocol that has
   the property of obscuring the details of what it is doing from
   unauthorized observers while also managing to perform efficiently.

3.4.3.  Secure Initialization and Trust Models

   One of the challenges implicit in the preceding discussions is that
   whenever we discuss "trusted entities" versus "untrusted entities",
   there needs to be some way that trust is initially established to
   convert an "untrusted entity" into a "trusted entity".

   The purpose of this document is not to define the specific way in
   which trust can be established.  Protocol designers may rely on a
   number of existing technologies, including PKI, Trust On First Use
   (TOFU), or the use of a short passphrase or PIN with cryptographic
   algorithms, such as Secure Remote Password (SRP) [RFC5054] or a
   Password-Authenticated Key Exchange like J-PAKE [RFC8236] using a
   Schnorr Non-interactive Zero-Knowledge Proof [RFC8235].

   Protocol designers should consider a specific usability pitfall when
   trust is established immediately prior to performing discovery.
   Users will have a tendency to "click OK" in order to achieve their
   task.  This implicit vulnerability is avoided if the trust
   establishment requires more significant participation of the user,
   such as entering a password or PIN.

3.4.4.  External Dependencies

   Trust establishment may depend on external parties.  Optionally, this
   might involve synchronous communication.  Systems that have such a
   dependency may be attacked by interfering with communication to
   external dependencies.  Where possible, such dependencies should be
   minimized.  Local trust models are best for secure initialization in
   the presence of active attackers.

4.  Requirements for a DNS-SD Privacy Extension

   Given the considerations discussed in the previous sections, we state
   requirements for privacy preserving DNS-SD in the following

   Defining a solution according to these requirements is intended to
   lead to a solution that does not transmit privacy-violating DNS-SD
   messages and further does not open pathways to new attacks against
   the operation of DNS-SD.

   However, while this document gives advice on which privacy protecting
   mechanisms should be used on deeper-layer network protocols and on
   how to actually connect to services in a privacy-preserving way,
   stating corresponding requirements is out of the scope of this
   document.  To mitigate attacks against privacy on lower layers, both
   servers and clients must use privacy options available at lower
   layers and, for example, avoid publishing static IPv4 or IPv6
   addresses or static IEEE 802 Media Access Control (MAC) addresses.
   For services advertised on a single network link, link-local IP
   addresses should be used; see [RFC3927] and [RFC4291] for IPv4 and
   IPv6, respectively.  Static servers advertising services globally via
   DNS can hide their IP addresses from unauthorized clients using the
   split mode topology shown in Encrypted Server Name Indication [ESNI].
   Hiding static MAC addresses can be achieved via MAC address
   randomization (see [RFC7844]).

4.1.  Private Client Requirements

   For all three scenarios described in Section 3.1, client privacy
   requires DNS-SD messages to:

   1.  Avoid disclosure of the client's identity, either directly or via
       inference, to nodes other than select servers.

   2.  Avoid exposure of linkable identifiers that allow tracing client

   3.  Avoid disclosure of the client's interest in specific service
       instances or service types to nodes other than select servers.

   When listing and resolving services via current DNS-SD deployments,
   clients typically disclose their interest in specific services types
   and specific instances of these types, respectively.

   In addition to the exposure and disclosure risks noted above,
   protocols and implementations will have to consider fingerprinting
   attacks (see Section 3.2.5) that could retrieve similar information.

4.2.  Private Server Requirements

   Servers like the "printer" discussed in Section 3.1.1 are public, but
   the servers discussed in Sections 3.1.2 and 3.1.3 are, by essence,
   private.  Server privacy requires DNS-SD messages to:

   1.  Avoid disclosure of the server's identity, either directly or via
       inference, to nodes other than authorized clients.  In
       particular, servers must avoid publishing static identifiers,
       such as hostnames or service names.  When those fields are
       required by the protocol, servers should publish randomized
       values.  (See [RFC8117] for a discussion of hostnames.)

   2.  Avoid exposure of linkable identifiers that allow tracing

   3.  Avoid disclosure to unauthorized clients of Service Instance
       Names or service types of offered services.

   4.  Avoid disclosure to unauthorized clients of information about the
       services they offer.

   5.  Avoid disclosure of static IPv4 or IPv6 addresses.

   When offering services via current DNS-SD deployments, servers
   typically disclose their hostnames (SRV, A/AAAA), instance names of
   offered services (PTR, SRV), and information about services (TXT).
   Heeding these requirements protects a server's privacy on the DNS-SD

   The current DNS-SD user interfaces present the list of discovered
   service names to the users and let them pick a service from the list.
   Using random identifiers for service names renders that UI flow
   unusable.  Privacy-respecting discovery protocols will have to solve
   this issue, for example, by presenting authenticated or decrypted
   service names instead of the randomized values.

4.3.  Security and Operation

   In order to be secure and feasible, a DNS-SD privacy extension needs
   to consider security and operational requirements including:

   1.  Avoiding significant CPU overhead on nodes or significantly
       higher network load.  Such overhead or load would make nodes
       vulnerable to denial-of-service attacks.  Further, it would
       increase power consumption, which is damaging for IoT devices.

   2.  Avoiding designs in which a small message can trigger a large
       amount of traffic towards an unverified address, as this could be
       exploited in amplification attacks.

5.  IANA Considerations

   This document has no IANA actions.

6.  References

6.1.  Normative References

   [RFC6762]  Cheshire, S. and M. Krochmal, "Multicast DNS", RFC 6762,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC6762, February 2013,

   [RFC6763]  Cheshire, S. and M. Krochmal, "DNS-Based Service
              Discovery", RFC 6763, DOI 10.17487/RFC6763, February 2013,

6.2.  Informative References

   [ESNI]     Rescorla, E., Oku, K., Sullivan, N., and C. A. Wood, "TLS
              Encrypted Client Hello", Work in Progress, Internet-Draft,
              draft-ietf-tls-esni-07, June 1, 2020,

   [K17]      Kaiser, D., "Efficient Privacy-Preserving
              Configurationless Service Discovery Supporting Multi-Link
              Networks", August 2017,

   [KW14a]    Kaiser, D. and M. Waldvogel, "Adding Privacy to Multicast
              DNS Service Discovery", DOI 10.1109/TrustCom.2014.107,
              September 2014, <

   [KW14b]    Kaiser, D. and M. Waldvogel, "Efficient Privacy Preserving
              Multicast DNS Service Discovery",
              DOI 10.1109/HPCC.2014.141, August 2014,

   [RFC1033]  Lottor, M., "Domain Administrators Operations Guide",
              RFC 1033, DOI 10.17487/RFC1033, November 1987,

   [RFC1034]  Mockapetris, P., "Domain names - concepts and facilities",
              STD 13, RFC 1034, DOI 10.17487/RFC1034, November 1987,

   [RFC1035]  Mockapetris, P., "Domain names - implementation and
              specification", STD 13, RFC 1035, DOI 10.17487/RFC1035,
              November 1987, <>.

   [RFC2782]  Gulbrandsen, A., Vixie, P., and L. Esibov, "A DNS RR for
              specifying the location of services (DNS SRV)", RFC 2782,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC2782, February 2000,

   [RFC3927]  Cheshire, S., Aboba, B., and E. Guttman, "Dynamic
              Configuration of IPv4 Link-Local Addresses", RFC 3927,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC3927, May 2005,

   [RFC4291]  Hinden, R. and S. Deering, "IP Version 6 Addressing
              Architecture", RFC 4291, DOI 10.17487/RFC4291, February
              2006, <>.

   [RFC5054]  Taylor, D., Wu, T., Mavrogiannopoulos, N., and T. Perrin,
              "Using the Secure Remote Password (SRP) Protocol for TLS
              Authentication", RFC 5054, DOI 10.17487/RFC5054, November
              2007, <>.

   [RFC7558]  Lynn, K., Cheshire, S., Blanchet, M., and D. Migault,
              "Requirements for Scalable DNS-Based Service Discovery
              (DNS-SD) / Multicast DNS (mDNS) Extensions", RFC 7558,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC7558, July 2015,

   [RFC7844]  Huitema, C., Mrugalski, T., and S. Krishnan, "Anonymity
              Profiles for DHCP Clients", RFC 7844,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC7844, May 2016,

   [RFC8117]  Huitema, C., Thaler, D., and R. Winter, "Current Hostname
              Practice Considered Harmful", RFC 8117,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC8117, March 2017,

   [RFC8235]  Hao, F., Ed., "Schnorr Non-interactive Zero-Knowledge
              Proof", RFC 8235, DOI 10.17487/RFC8235, September 2017,

   [RFC8236]  Hao, F., Ed., "J-PAKE: Password-Authenticated Key Exchange
              by Juggling", RFC 8236, DOI 10.17487/RFC8236, September
              2017, <>.

              Cheshire, S., "Understanding Sleep Proxy Service",
              December 2009,

   [SRP]      Lemon, T. and S. Cheshire, "Service Registration Protocol
              for DNS-Based Service Discovery", Work in Progress,
              Internet-Draft, draft-ietf-dnssd-srp-04, July 13, 2020,


   This document incorporates many contributions from Stuart Cheshire
   and Chris Wood.  Thanks to Florian Adamsky for extensive review and
   suggestions on the organization of the threat model.  Thanks to Barry
   Leiba for an extensive review.  Thanks to Roman Danyliw, Ben Kaduk,
   Adam Roach, and Alissa Cooper for their comments during IESG review.

Authors' Addresses

   Christian Huitema
   Private Octopus Inc.
   Friday Harbor, WA 98250
   United States of America


   Daniel Kaiser
   University of Luxembourg
   6, avenue de la Fonte
   L-4364 Esch-sur-Alzette