The Domain Name System (DNS) is the jack-of-all-trades in the Internet. Originally devised for finding the IP addresses belonging to a host name, its functionality now includes local service discovery, finding servers providing a particular service, declaring ownership, and distributing certificates, just to name a few.

However, DNS is also fragile as several outages and malfunctions have shown, and does not protect the growing amount of information published and the identity of those interested in it from prying eyes.

If you connect your device to some network, the first few messages sent are likely to be DNS queries uniquely identifying you, making you globally trackable and showing your interests and the services you offer, often exposing the names of your family members, and much more.

In this research venture, we look at ways to improve the resilience and functionality of DNS, while at the same time improving the privacy of the data and the requestors.

We are employing innovative, backward-compatible mechanisms to

  • announce and query information privately in Multicast DNS/DNS Service Discovery settings (mDNS, DNS-SD, Bonjour), while maintaining the critical ease of use;
  • extend DNS-SD into an enterprise-wide communication mechanism while reducing the choking amount of multicast overhead in larger WLAN/WiFi installations; and
  • turn DNS into a reliable protocol, moving away from constant polling toward an event-driven, persistent distributed database.

More information on the research platform.