DNS Trust Manager 02-02-2024

Reflections and projections on DNS’s role in digital trust

Henry Holm
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In 1983, computer scientist Paul Mockapetris created a naming database that would forever change the face of the internet: the Domain Name System (DNS)

Mockapetris’s revolutionary invention worked by distributing the mapping of domain names to IP addresses across a network of servers instead of the original method of maintaining relationships on a centrally stored file. DNS proved to be much more accessible, scalable, and efficient than the old method, leading the new dynamic naming system to become one of the first internet standards just three years after Mockapetris introduced it to the world.

Over the last 40 years, DNS has progressed to keep up with changes to the internet, use cases, and security threats. And it’s become central to digital trust, the complete architecture that allows organizations and individuals to transact and communicate online with the confidence that the footprints recorded in the digital world are secure.

Ensuring this level of safety means organizations need to have a digital trust strategy in place—and DNS plays a vital role. 

Reflecting on four decades of DNS

Let’s look at some of the ways DNS has evolved since 1983 and how its advancements have turned it into a foundational part of a successful digital trust strategy.

DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC)

Security wasn’t Mockapetris’s top priority when he invented DNS, but vulnerabilities soon began to reveal themselves. In 1997, DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC) entered the scene to address cyber-attack threats and protect the integrity of the information being transferred.

DNSSEC serves as an additional layer of cryptographic verification to DNS responses, enhancing the security and integrity of the entire system. 

Here are some of the improvements DNSSEC enables:

  • Ensuring DNS response integrity: DNSSEC reduces the risk of DNS-related attacks and instills confidence in the reliability of the domain resolution process. Preventing DNS spoofing and cache poisoning ensures the integrity of DNS responses, establishing trust in the accuracy of the information DNS delivers to users.
  • Enhancing data integrity: By protecting against threats like man-in-the-middle attacks, DNSSEC improves trust in the accuracy of domain name mappings and ensures that the information provided by DNS hasn’t been tampered with.
Certificate management

The role of DNS in certificate management adds another critical benefit to a well-rounded digital trust strategy. As the definitive source of information for a domain, authoritative DNS servers are a pivotal part of the management and verification of TLS certificates.

Integrating DNSSEC is vital to certificate management, but DNS provides continuous encryption and trust in several other ways:

What’s in store for DNS?

As the Domain Name System enters its next decade, we expect its evolution to continue. And there’s one development worth keeping an especially close eye on:  Article 28 of the NIS 2 Directive.

The Network and Information Security (NIS 2) Directive is an EU regulation aimed at enhancing cybersecurity by setting strict security and incident reporting standards for organizations that provide essential or digital services.

Article 28 deals with the accuracy and availability of the domain name registration database. The standards outlined in this article would directly impact digital trust and the DNS industry in several ways:

  • Improved data accuracy and verification: Article 28 includes verification processes to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data crucial to identifying the entities behind websites and services.
  • Balanced public access and privacy: Article 28 would require certain non-personal domain name registration data to be publicly available, supporting data transparency while still protecting personal information.
  • Enhanced digital trust: Article 28 would enhance user trust in DNS services by ensuring the integrity of the domain name registration data that underpins the credibility and reliability of online entities.
  • Improved security and stability: NIS 2’s focus on accurate and verifiable domain data would help mitigate risks like fraud, phishing, and other cyber threats.

The latest developments in digital trust

The digital landscape is constantly changing, but DNS will remain a crucial part of a comprehensive digital trust strategy. As cyber threats evolve, it’s more important than ever to select a reputable authoritative DNS solution like DigiCert DNS Trust Manager to help keep digital trust a constant in your organization’s online interactions and communications.

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