SATIN 2012                                               22-23 March 2012 - NPL, Teddington, UK


Securing and Trusting Internet Names, SATIN 2012

Thursday 22 & Friday 23 March 2012 - NPL, Teddington, UK

Please note that IETF 83 is in Paris, France, the following week

Timetable: Submissions due: Sun 22 Jan 2012 (11:59 PST)
  Notification of Acceptance: Wed 22 Feb 2012
  Final Papers due: Mon 13 Mar 2012


The domain name system, on which the Internet entirely relies, has always been inherently insecure. Spoofing of IP source addresses means that any wide area UDP protocol (such as DNS) can be forged. Cache poisoning attacks can be made less likely but not prevented altogether.

ISPs, or others who can intercept traffic, can redirect end users to sites of their choosing. Users can choose (or have forced upon them) DNS services that suppress access to sites for policy reasons.

DNSSEC, which addresses some of these issues, has been under development for years - but is finally ready for use; although some of the finer details are still being worked out.

However, even at the current scale of deployment, implementation issues are creating unexpected levels of traffic, and that is before the bad guys make any contribution. Meanwhile DNSCURVE is being promoted as a lightweight method of securing the links to and between name servers, which addresses some, but by no means all, of the security issues.

DNSSEC is also being seen by some as a distributed, secure, key distribution system, which could support new applications, or replace existing mechanisms for establishing trust in the identity of endpoints. The IETF's DANE working group is already addressing these issues.

Others merely see DNSSEC as a way of defeating marketers who want to inject targeted advertising into browser sessions. But how effective will these ideas be if we continue with our existing APIs and stub resolvers?

There are significant issues with DNS besides just its integrity. DNS services can be used to amplify denial-of-service attacks to create very substantial traffic flows. Malware has also been using the DNS for rendezvous arrangements, and has avoided countermeasures by exploiting the DNS system through 'fluxing' and other techniques.

There are also signs of a 'tragedy of the commons' as legitimate companies fill the DNS with large numbers of names, or set low TTLs, to give a performance 'edge'. Meanwhile, some applications pre-fetch DNS answers, with little heed to the impact on the infrastructure.

This latter technique raises privacy issues, as indeed does the proposal to 'leak' partial identities of requestors who contact recursive resolvers, with the aim of providing different answers to machines in different blocks of address space.

All of this makes DNS, once amongst the most boring of topics, into one of the more exciting. The first running of this workshop in April 2011 was a big success, and this second event will be equally significant.


SATIN aims to provide a forum for academic work on the security of the DNS alongside industry presentations on practical experiences in providing name services.

This workshop will expose the academics to the real problems that industry is encountering, and show industry what academia has to offer them. To improve the flow of information (and as was most successful at the first SATIN workshop) presentations will be restricted to 15 minutes with 15 minutes of general discussion to follow.

Submissions must be made under either an 'academic' or 'industry' label (relating entirely to the content rather than the affiliations of any author), because the two types will be judged by different standards.

Academic work will be viewed as an 'extended abstract' and should aim to meet the general standard for acceptance into normal conferences in the field. However, since this is a workshop, early results and initial ideas are welcomed.

Industry submissions should be relevant, insightful, and technical, and should provide information that cannot be gleaned from reading sales brochures or manuals.

In all cases, real-world operational, implementation, and experimental results will be preferred, and these results should inform the DNS protocol development process wherever relevant or possible.

Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Attacks on naming services
  • Alternative methods of securing name services
  • APIs for DNS resolvers
  • Using DNS as a platform for other applications
  • Denial of service and the DNS
  • Malware and the DNS
  • DNS caching on the modern Internet
  • Privacy and the DNS
  • Application behaviour and the DNS
  • Security economics of naming services
  • Passive DNS
  • Operational experience
  • Measurement studies
  • New threats and challenges

Questions regarding whether a topic would be suitable are welcome and should be sent to Programme Chair, Richard Clayton.

Workshop Organisers

Programme Chair:

  • Richard Clayton, NPL and University of Cambridge

Programme Committee:

  • Nevil Brownlee, University of Auckland
  • Ben Laurie, Google
  • Anne-Marie Eklund Löwinder, .SE (The Internet Infrastructure Foundation)
  • Dan Massey, Colorado State University
  • Douglas Maughan, Department of Homeland Security
  • Andrew W Moore, University of Cambridge
  • Jose Nazario, Arbor Networks
  • Roberto Perdisci, University of Georgia
  • Dave Piscitello, ICANN
  • Paul Vixie, ISC
  • Nicholas Weaver, ICSI and UC Berkeley
  • Jonathan Williams, NPL

About the National Physical Laboratory

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is one of the UK's leading science and research facilities. It is a world-leading centre of excellence in developing and applying the most accurate standards, science and technology available. NPL occupies a unique position as the UK's National Measurement Institute and sits at the intersection between scientific discovery and real world application. Its expertise and original research have underpinned quality of life, innovation and competitiveness for UK citizens and business for more than a century.

NPL is collaborating with the University of Cambridge in a three year programme to develop robust and accurate measurements of Internet security mechanisms. Measuring and understanding the deployment of DNSSEC and other trust mechanisms for Internet names is a key part of this ongoing programme.