This document is about PowerDNS 4.0. For other versions, please see the documentation index.

PowerDNS Security Advisory 2016-01: Crafted queries can cause unexpected backend load

Two issues have been found in PowerDNS Authoritative Server allowing a remote, unauthenticated attacker to cause an abnormal load on the PowerDNS backend by sending crafted DNS queries, which might result in a partial denial of service if the backend becomes overloaded. SQL backends for example are particularly vulnerable to this kind of unexpected load if they have not been dimensioned for it. The first issue is based on the fact that PowerDNS Authoritative Server accepts queries with a qname's length larger than 255 bytes. This issue has been assigned CVE-2016-5426. The second issue is based on the fact that PowerDNS Authoritative Server does not properly handle dot inside labels. This issue has been assigned CVE-2016-5427. Both issues have been addressed by this commit.

PowerDNS Authoritative Server up to and including 3.4.9 is affected. No other versions are affected. The PowerDNS Recursor is not affected.

dnsdist can be used to block crafted queries, using QNameWireLengthRule() to block queries with a qname larger than 255 bytes and QNameLabelsCountRule() to block queries with a very large amount of labels. Please note that restricting the number of labels in a query might lead to unexpected issues, especially with DNSSEC-enabled domains.

We'd like to thank Florian Heinz and Martin Kluge for finding and subsequently reporting this issue.