[ISN] OMB to agencies: Lock down those DNS servers

From: InfoSec News (alerts@private)
Date: Thu May 15 2008 - 00:51:38 PDT


By John Rendleman

The Office of Management and Budget will soon require agencies to 
configure their Doman Name System (DNS) servers to the security 
specifications set by the National Institute of Standards and 

OMB will issue a memo outlining the new policy shortly, according to 
Karen Evans, OMB's administrator for electronic government and 
information technology.

The policy will roughly follow DNS security guidelines already published 
by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, according to 
Evans. The guidelines, published in NIST Special Publication 800-81 and 
titled "Secure Domain Name System (DNS) Deployment Guide," broadly 
recommend that agencies:

    * Implement system and network security controls to secure their DNS 
      hosting environments, including operating system and application 
      patching, process isolation and network fault tolerance

    * Protect DNS transactions such as DNS name resolution updates and 
      data replications on DNS nodes within agencies. control using 
      hash-based message authentication codes based on shared secrets

    * Protect ubiquitous DNS query/response transactions involving any 
      DNS node on the global Internet using digital signatures based on 
      asymmetric cryptography, and

    * Enforce content control of DNS name resolution data using sets of 
      integrity constraints that properly balance the integrity and 
      performance of the DNS system.

The policy will require agencies to examine the hierarchy of their 
domains and "decide who is in and who is out," Evans said Tuesday at a 
conference co-sponsored by Topside Consulting and 1105 Government 
Information Group, publisher of GCN, Federal Computer Week, and other 

OMB, in cooperation with the General Services Administration, is also 
preparing a Policy Utilization Assessment tool that will become a 
service offered by GSA. The service will survey a statistical sampling 
of an agency's computers and issue a report on the percentage of systems 
that comply with OMB's IT directives, Evans said.

Also at the conference, Randal Vickers, associate deputy director of the 
Department of Homeland Security's United States Computer Readiness Team 
(US-CERT), said that DHS and the General Services Administration are 
working with the five telecom service providers on the Networx contracts 
to prepare data transport services that comply with OMB's Trusted 
Internet Connection initiative. DHS plans to define the requirements of 
the service for GSA by June 15 with the goal of placing TIC-compliant 
services on the providers' service schedules by Nov. 15, Vickers said.

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