OARC 39 & 47th CENTR Technical Workshop


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 engineer” the cache operations of 8 DNS implementations, and new attack surfaces are revealed in the domain name delegation processes. We select 41 well-known public DNS resolvers and prove that all surveyed DNS services are vulnerable to Phoenix Domain, including Google Public DNS and Cloudflare DNS. Extensive measurement studies are 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. Until now, 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.

Oct 22, 2022 — Oct 23, 2022
Hybrid in-person and online workshop (Golden Tulip Zira)
Ruzveltova 35, Belgrade, 11000

In OARC 39 & 47th CENTR Technical Workshop (hybrid in-person and online workshop), I presented a novel Ghost Domain attack named Phoenix Domain to the audiences.

Feedback from workshops


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

Xiang Li is a 4th-year Ph.D. candidate at the Institute of Network Science and Cyberspace, Tsinghua University, advised by Professors Qi Li and Haixin Duan. He belongs to the Network and Information Security Lab (NISL). He is a visiting scholar at UC Irvine as a project specialist, working with Professor Zhou Li. He is also working as a security research intern at Qi-An-Xin Technology Company. Additionally, he is the author of the fast IPv6 network device scanner XMap, open-sourced on GitHub. His research interests include network security, protocol security, IPv6 security, DNS security, Internet measurement, and network & protocol fuzzing. As the first author, he has published many research papers at top security conferences like USENIX Security, NDSS, and DSN. As the co-author, he also published multiple papers in top conferences like USENIX Security and SIGMETRICS. He also gets his presentations accepted by top industry security conferences like Black Hat. He likes to attend talks and workshops like IDS, OARC, and VehicleSec to share his research. He has obtained over 140 CVE/CNVD vulnerability numbers for a variety of influential IPv6 and DNS vulnerabilities, which have impacted over 20 home router vendors and all DNS implementations and resolver vendors. He received acknowledgements and more than $10,600 rewards from those vendors, like Google, Microsoft, Cloudflare, and Akamai, and is working for the improvement of DNS protocols (related work has been referenced in RFC).