Black Hat Asia 2023

Abstract

Phoenix Domain is a general and novel attack that allows adversaries to maintain the revoked malicious domain continuously resolvable at scale, which enables an old, mitigated attack, Ghost Domain. Phoenix Domain has two variations and affects all mainstream DNS software and public DNS resolvers overall because it does not violate any DNS specifications and best security practices. The attack is made possible through systematically “reverse engineering” the cache operations of 8 DNS implementations, and new attack surfaces are revealed in the domain name delegation processes. We selected 41 well-known public DNS resolvers and proved that all surveyed DNS services are vulnerable to Phoenix Domain, including Google Public DNS and Cloudflare DNS. Extensive measurement studies were performed with 210k stable and distributed DNS recursive resolvers, and results show that even after one month from domain name revocation and cache expiration, more than 25% of recursive resolvers can still resolve it. The proposed attack provides an opportunity for adversaries to evade the security practices of malicious domain take-down. We have reported discovered vulnerabilities to all affected vendors and suggested 6 types of mitigation approaches to them. Currently, 7 DNS software providers and 15 resolver vendors, including BIND, Unbound, Google, and Cloudflare, have confirmed the vulnerabilities, and some of them are implementing and publishing mitigation patches according to our suggestions. In addition, 9 CVE numbers have been assigned. The study calls for standardization to address the issue of how to revoke domain names securely and maintain cache consistency.

Date
May 11, 2023 12:00 AM — May 12, 2023 11:59 PM
Location
MARINA BAY SANDS
10 Bayfront Ave, 018956

In Black Hat Asia 2023, I presented our work: “Phoenix Domain Attack: Vulnerable Links in Domain Name Delegation and Revocation”.

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Xiang Li
Xiang Li
Ph.D. Candidate in Cyberspace Security (Tsinghua University)

Xiang Li is a 5th-year Ph.D. candidate at the Institute of Network Science and Cyberspace, Tsinghua University, advised by Professors Qi Li and Haixin Duan. His research interests include network security, protocol security, IPv6 security, DNS security, Internet measurement, network & protocol fuzzing, network vulnerability discovery & attack, and underground economy with 17 research papers. As the first author, he has published many research papers at all top-tier security conferences, including Oakland S&P, USENIX Security, CCS, NDSS, and Black Hat (Asia, USA, and Europe). He has obtained over 200 CVE/CNVD/CNNVD vulnerability numbers, more than $11,600 rewards, 316+ GitHub stars, multiple CERT reports, 60+ news coverage, and RFC acknowledgement. He got multiple prizes, such as 1st prize of IPv6 Technology Application Innovation Competition, 2nd prize of GeekCon 2023 DAF Contest, National Scholarship, Wang Dazhong Scholarship, and Tsinghua Outstanding Scholarship.