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Home : Advisories : BIND - the Berkeley Internet Name Daemon

Title: BIND - the Berkeley Internet Name Daemon
Released by: CERT
Date: 13th August 1997
Printable version: Click here

Hash: SHA1


CERT* Advisory CA-97.22

Original issue date: August 13, 1997

Last Revised: May 26, 1998

              Updated vendor information for Sun Microsystems

              A complete revision history is at the end of this file.

Topic: BIND - the Berkeley Internet Name Daemon

- -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

            *** This advisory supersedes CA-96.02. ***

Several vulnerabilities in the Berkeley Internet Name Daemon (BIND) have been

fixed in the current version of BIND. One of those vulnerabilities is now

being exploited, a vulnerability that results in cache poisoning (malicious or

misleading data from a remote name server is saved [cached] by another name


The vulnerability has been fixed in BIND version 4.9.6; however, we recommend

upgrading according to our instructions in Section III.B or installing vendor

patches (see Appendix A).  We also urge you to take the additional precautions

described in Section III.C.

We will update this advisory as we receive additional information. Please

check our advisory files regularly for updates that relate to your site.

- -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

I.   Description

     The Berkeley Internet Name Daemon (BIND) is an implementation of the

     Domain Name Service (DNS) written primarily for UNIX Systems. BIND

     consists of three parts:

     * The client part. This part contains subroutine libraries used by

       programs that require DNS services. Example clients of these libraries

       are telnet, the X Windows System, and ssh (the secure shell). The

       client part consists of subroutine libraries, header files, and manual


     * The server part. This part contains the name server daemon (named) and

       its support program (named-xfer). These programs provide one source of

       the data used for mapping between host names and IP addresses. When

       appropriately configured, these name server daemons can interoperate

       across a network (the Internet for example) to provide the mapping

       services for that network. The server part consists of the daemon, its

       support programs and scripts, and manual pages.

     * The tools part. This part contains various tools for interrogating

       name servers in a network. They use the client part to extract

       information from those servers. The tools part consists of these

       interrogation tools and manual pages.

     As BIND has matured, several vulnerabilities in the client, server,

     and tools parts have been fixed. Among these is server cache poisoning.

     Cache poisoning occurs when malicious or misleading data received from

     a remote name server is saved (cached) by another name server. This

     "bad" data is then made available to programs that request the cached

     data through the client interface.

     Analysis of recent incidents reported to the CERT Coordination Center

     has shown that the cache poisoning technique is being used to adversely

     affect the mapping between host names and IP addresses. Once this

     mapping has been changed, any information sent between hosts on a

     network may be subjected to inspection, capture, or corruption.

     Although the new BIND distributions do address important security

     problems, not all known problems are fixed. In particular, several

     problems can be fixed only with the use of cryptographic authentication

     techniques. Implementing and deploying this solution is non-trivial;

     work on this task is currently underway within the Internet community.

II.  Impact

     The mapping between host names and IP addresses may be changed. As

     a result, attackers can inspect, capture, or corrupt the information

     exchanged between hosts on a network.

III. Solution

Install a patch from your vendor or implement the "best practice" workaround

we recommend in Section III.B. In either case, take the extra precautions

described in Section III.C.

     A.  Obtain and install a patch for this problem.

         Information from vendors can be found in Appendix A of this advisory;

         we will update the appendix as we receive more information.

     B.  Until you are able to install the appropriate patch, we recommend

         the following workaround.

         The "best practice" for operating the publicly available BIND

         system can be either:

         * a heterogeneous solution that involves first installing BIND

           release 4.9.6 and then release 8.1.1, or

         * a homogeneous solution that involves installing only BIND release


         In the paragraphs below, we describe how to determine which solution

         you should use.

         Note: Although the security posture in BIND version 8.1.1 is

               identical to that of version 4.9.6, version 8.1.1 is the

               version that will continue to undergo changes and improvements,

               hence our selection of its use as the "best practice."

         1. Shared Object Client Subroutine Library

            If your system and its programs rely on the shared object client

            subroutine library that comes with some releases of BIND, probably

            named libresolv.so, then you need the shared object subroutine

            library and other client software from release 4.9.6. (As of

            this writing, BIND version 8 does not yet support the client

            part as a shared object library.) This client software is

            available at


                MD5 (bind-4.9.6-REL.tar.gz) = 76dd66e920ad0638c8a37545a6531594

            Follow the instructions in the file named INSTALL in the top-level


            After installing this client part, install the server and tool

            parts from release 8.1.1. This software is available at


                MD5 (bind-src.tar.gz) = 7487b8d647edba2053edc1cda0c6afd0

            Follow the instructions in the src/INSTALL file. Note that

            this version will install the client libraries and header files

            in a non-standard place, /usr/local/lib and /usr/local/include.

            The src/INSTALL file describes what is being installed and


            When you install release 4.9.6 first, its client, server, and

            tools parts will be installed in the production locations. When

            you then install release 8.1.1, the server and tools parts will be

            overwritten by that release's versions, but the 4.9.6 client part

            will not.

         2. No Shared Object Client Subroutine Library

            If you do not need the shared object client subroutine library,

            then you need only upgrade to release 8.1.1. This software is

            available at


                MD5 (bind-src.tar.gz) = 7487b8d647edba2053edc1cda0c6afd0

            Follow the instructions in src/INSTALL. Note that the client

            subroutine library and header files are installed in

            /usr/local/lib and /usr/local/include respectively. To use

            these when building other systems, you will need to refer to

            their installed locations.

        Note: http://ftp.isc.org/isc/bind/src/ is mirrored in

              Germany at http://ftp.cert.dfn.de/pub/tools/net/bind/src/

        As new versions of BIND are released in the future, you will be able

        to find them at these sites, as well as other mirrors. You can also

        check http://info.cert.org/pub/latest_sw_versions/ for version


     C. Take additional precautions.

        As good security practice in general, filter at a router all

        name-based authentication services so that you do not rely on DNS

        information for authentication. This includes the services rlogin, rsh

        (rcp), xhost, NFS, and any other locally installed services that

        provide trust based on domain name information.


Appendix A - Vendor Information

Below is a list of the vendors who have provided information for this

advisory. We will update this appendix as we receive additional information.

If you do not see your vendor's name, the CERT/CC did not hear from that

vendor. Please contact the vendor directly.

Berkeley Software Design, Inc. (BSDI)


Patches from BSDI


        md5 checksum: 8ce46cd2d1aff3b294a84ae54e82a824


        md5 checksum: d7b5c6094089955cd1af207dab05bc0f

Cray Research - A Silicon Graphics Company


  Cray Research has determined that the version of BIND shipped with all

  current releases of Unicos and Unicos/mk are susceptible to the problem

  described in this advisory.  We are currently working on upgrading our

  version of BIND to the 4.9.6 release.

Digital Equipment Corporation


xref CASE ID: SSRT0494U

 At the time of writing this document, patches(binary kits) are in

 progress and final patch testing is expected to begin soon.

 Digital will provide notice of the completion/availability of the

 patches through AES services (DIA, DSNlink FLASH) and be

 available from your normal Digital Support channel.

                                DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORPORATION   AUG/97

                                -----------------------------   ------

Hewlett-Packard Company


   HP is vulnerable. Patches in process.

IBM Corporation


  IBM is currently working on the following APARs which will be

  available soon:

    AIX 4.1:  IX70236

    AIX 4.2:  IX70237

  To Order


    APARs may be ordered using Electronic Fix Distribution (via FixDist)

    or from the IBM Support Center.  For more information on FixDist,

    reference URL:


    or send e-mail to aixserv@austin.ibm.com with a subject of "FixDist".

  IBM and AIX are registered trademarks of International Business Machines


NEC Corporation


   NEC is vulnerable.  The systems affected by this problem

   are as follows:






   Patches are in progress and will be made available from


Siemens-Nixdorf Informationssysteme AG


  We are investigating this problem and will provide updated information

  for this advisory when it becomes available.

The Santa Cruz Operation


   The following SCO operating systems are vulnerable:

   - SCO Open Desktop/Open Server 3.0, SCO UNIX 3.2v4

   - SCO OpenServer 5.0

   - SCO UnixWare 2.1

   SCO CMW+ 3.0 is not vulnerable as bind is not supported on CMW+ platforms.

   SCO has made an interim fix available for anonymous ftp:

        http://ftp.sco.com/SSE/sse008.ltr.Z - cover letter

        http://ftp.sco.com/SSE/sse008.tar.Z - replacement binaries

   The fix includes binaries for the following SCO operating systems:

   - SCO Open Desktop/Open Server 3.0, SCO UNIX 3.2v4

   - SCO OpenServer 5.0

   - SCO UnixWare 2.1

Sun Microsystems



The following patches relate to the BIND vulnerability:


        SunOS version   Patch Id

        -------------   --------


        5.6             105755-03

        5.6_x86         105756-03

        5.5.1           103663-11

        5.5.1_x86       103664-11

        5.5             103667-09

        5.5_x86         103668-09

        5.4             102479-11

        5.4_x86         102480-09

        5.3             101359-08


Sun recommended and security patches (including checksums) are available from:



- -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

The CERT Coordination Center staff thanks Paul Vixie and Wolfgang Ley for

their contributions to this advisory.

- -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you believe that your system has been compromised, contact the CERT

Coordination Center or your representative in the Forum of Incident Response

and Security Teams (see http://www.first.org/team-info/).

CERT/CC Contact Information

- ----------------------------

Email    cert@cert.org

Phone    +1 412-268-7090 (24-hour hotline)

                CERT personnel answer 8:30-5:00 p.m. EST(GMT-5) / EDT(GMT-4)

                and are on call for emergencies during other hours.

Fax      +1 412-268-6989

Postal address

         CERT Coordination Center

         Software Engineering Institute

         Carnegie Mellon University

         Pittsburgh PA 15213-3890


Using encryption

   We strongly urge you to encrypt sensitive information sent by email. We can

   support a shared DES key or PGP. Contact the CERT/CC for more information.

   Location of CERT PGP key


Getting security information

   CERT publications and other security information are available from



   CERT advisories and bulletins are also posted on the USENET newsgroup


   To be added to our mailing list for advisories and bulletins, send

   email to


   In the subject line, type

        SUBSCRIBE  your-email-address

- ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Copyright 1997 Carnegie Mellon University. Conditions for use, disclaimers,

and sponsorship information can be found in

http://www.cert.org/legal_stuff.html and http://ftp.cert.org/pub/legal_stuff .

If you do not have FTP or web access, send mail to cert@cert.org with

"copyright" in the subject line.

CERT is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

This file: http://info.cert.org/pub/cert_advisories/CA-97.22.bind


               click on "CERT Advisories"


Revision history

May 26, 1998   Updated vendor information for Sun Microsystems

Sept. 30, 1997 Updated copyright statement

Sept. 19, 1997 Appendix A - Added information for BSDI.

Aug. 20, 1997  Introduction - Clarified that 4.9.6 is not vulnerable.

               Section III - Added a note why sites should upgrade to 8.1.1.


Version: PGP for Personal Privacy 5.0

Charset: noconv





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