Got Packets? Odd duplicate DNS replies from 10.x IP Addresses

Published: 2012-05-16
Last Updated: 2012-05-16 11:48:23 UTC
by Johannes Ullrich (Version: 1)
1 comment(s)

This is a clarification to Dan's diary from yesterday. We are interested to hear, if anybody else is seeing DNS replies from RFC1918 non-routable IP addresses, in particular from So far, we only have one report, and we are trying to figure out if this is something wide spread, or something unique to this user.

This reader first noticed the problem when the firewall reported more dropped packets from 10.x addresses. Two example queries that caused the problem are A queries for and The reader receives two responses: One "normal" response from the IP address the query was sent to, and a second response from the 10.x address. As a result, the problem would go unnoticed even if the 10.x response is dropped. Both responses provide the same answer, so this may not be an attack, but more of a misconfiguration.

As a side note, initially the DNS protocol specifically allowed for replies to arrive from an IP address different then the one the query was sent to:

"Some name servers send their responses from different addresses than the one used to receive the query. That is, a resolver cannot rely that a response will come from the same address which it sent the corresponding query to. This name server bug is typically encountered in UNIX systems." (RFC1035)

However, later in RFC2181, this requirement was removed:

"Most, if not all, DNS clients, expect the address from which a reply is received to be the same address as that to which the query  eliciting the reply was sent.  This is true for servers acting as clients for the purposes of recursive query resolution, as well as simple resolver clients.  The address, along with the identifier (ID) in the reply is used for disambiguating replies, and filtering  spurious responses.  This may, or may not, have been intended when the DNS was designed, but is now a fact of life." (RFC2181)

But we are NOT looking for responses that are coming from the wrong source, but duplicate responses. Once from the correct and once from the incorrect address.

Here an example "stray" packet submitted by the reader (slightly modified for privacy reasons and to better fit the screen)


Internet Protocol Version 4, Src: 10.17.x.y, Dst: ---removed---
    Version: 4
    Header length: 20 bytes
    Differentiated Services Field: 0x00 
    Total Length: 84
    Identification: 0x2a7e (10878)
    Flags: 0x00
    Fragment offset: 0
    Time to live: 59
    Protocol: UDP (17)
    Header checksum: correct
User Datagram Protocol, Src Port: domain (53), Dst Port: antidotemgrsvr (2247)

Domain Name System (response)
    Transaction ID: 0xb326
    Flags: 0x8400 (Standard query response, No error)
        1... .... .... .... = Response: Message is a response
        .000 0... .... .... = Opcode: Standard query (0)
        .... .1.. .... .... = Authoritative: Server is an authority for domain
        .... ..0. .... .... = Truncated: Message is not truncated
        .... ...0 .... .... = Recursion desired: Don't do query recursively
        .... .... 0... .... = Recursion available: Server can't do recursive queries
        .... .... .0.. .... = Z: reserved (0)
        .... .... ..0. .... = Answer not authenticated
        .... .... ...0 .... = Non-authenticated data: Unacceptable
        .... .... .... 0000 = Reply code: No error (0)

    Questions: 1
    Answer RRs: 1
    Authority RRs: 0
    Additional RRs: 0

    Queries type A, class IN
            Type: A (Host address)
            Class: IN (0x0001)

    Answers type A, class IN, addr
            Type: A (Host address)
            Class: IN (0x0001)
            Time to live: 5 minutes
            Data length: 4
            Addr: (

Johannes B. Ullrich, Ph.D.
SANS Technology Institute

Keywords: dns rfc1035 rfc2181
1 comment(s)


FYI. The duplicates for '' lookups occurred due to a configuration error. This was internal communications between machines in the datacenter that should never have left the datacenter. The issue has been corrected.

Don Lehman
Platform Mapping Engineering
Akamai Technologies, Inc.

Diary Archives