Admin DNS Network Technologies

Bluecoat ProxySG and DNS using edns seem incompatible

Imagine your DNS server had this behaviour when queried using dig:

$ dig @

; <<>> DiG 9.9.2-P2 <<>> @
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: FORMERR, id: 48905
;; flags: qr rd ra ad; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 0, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 1
; EDNS: version: 0, flags:; udp: 4096
;           IN      A
;; Query time: 1 msec
;; WHEN: Fri Feb 24 12:16:42 2017
;; MSG SIZE  rcvd: 48

That would be pretty disturbing, right? The only way to get dig to behave is to turn off edns like this:

$ dig +noedns @

; <<>> DiG 9.9.2-P2 <<>> +noedns @
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 31299
;; flags: qr rd ra ad; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 1, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 0
;           IN      A
;; ANSWER SECTION:    3277    IN      A
;; Query time: 3 msec
;; WHEN: Fri Feb 24 12:17:00 2017
;; MSG SIZE  rcvd: 53

Nslookup works. But who uses nslookup anyway?

Furthermore, imagine that DNS client and server are on the same subnet, so there is no firewall intermediating their traffic. so we know we can’t blame firewall cutting off large DNS packets, unlike the suggestions made in the references section.

Well, this is exactly the situation in a large company where I consult. The DNS server is unusual: a Bluecoat ProxySG, which can conveniently combine replies from nameservers from two different namespaces.

There does not seem to be an option to handle edns queries correctly on a Bluecoat device.

The client is running SLES version 11. The real question is how will applications behave? Which type of query will they make?

Bluecoat Response
Bluecoat does not support eDNS and gives a response permitted by RFC2671. RFC2671 also encourages clients to account for error responses and drop the use of eDNS in a retry.

References and related
EDNS: What is it all about? is a really good explanation of edns and how it came about, how it’s supposed to work, etc.
This post suggests some scenarios where edns may not work, though it does not address the Bluecoat issue:
RFC 2671

Network Technologies Raspberry Pi

Dig for Windows or Raspberry Pi


Dig is a really useful networking tool. I use it several times a day. But always on Linux where it’s usually built-in. On Raspberry Pi’s raspbian you can install it with a simple apt-get install dnsutils. Then I learned it wasn’t hard at all to install on Windows, especially as a fairly minimalist installation that just puts files on your PC and makes no changes to the Registry, which is all you really need for light use.

The details
Go to Expand BIND.
Click download button for the current stable release.
Pick the win-64-bit link (because chances are you’re running Windows 64 bit these days) and wait for download to complete.
Open up zip file.
Unzip or extract all files to (this is my suggestion) c:\apps\bind.

To run it
Open a command window. Probably easiest way is hold down Windows key + r and type in cmd. In CMD window simply type \apps\bind\dig to run dig like you do on Linux.

Example commands
Example 1, Resolve address for

C:\> \apps\bind\dns

; &lt;&lt;&gt;&gt; DiG 9.9.8-P2 &lt;&lt;&gt;&gt;
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; -&gt;&gt;HEADER&lt;&lt;- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 24929
;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 6, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 1
; EDNS: version: 0, flags:; udp: 4096
;                    IN      A
;; ANSWER SECTION:             88      IN      A             88      IN      A             88      IN      A             88      IN      A             88      IN      A             88      IN      A
;; Query time: 41 msec
;; WHEN: Mon Jan 11 12:16:17 Eastern Standard Time 2016
;; MSG SIZE  rcvd: 135

This gives all kinds of useful information – what your default DNS server is (at the bottom – mine is, how long the query took *this one: 41 msec), whether the answer is authoritative or not (no AA flag here, so this is not an authoritative answer), as well as the answer to the question posed.

Example 2, Resolve nameserver records for the domain using Google’s DNS server over TCP from our local IP address of

We started out slow, but this example throws the kitchen sink at you to show the power of dig!

C:\> \apps\bind\dig +tcp -b ns @

; &lt;&lt;&gt;&gt; DiG 9.9.8-P2 &lt;&lt;&gt;&gt; +tcp -b ns @
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; -&gt;&gt;HEADER&lt;&lt;- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 64444
;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 6, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 1
; EDNS: version: 0, flags:; udp: 512
;                    IN      NS
;; ANSWER SECTION:             3599    IN      NS             3599    IN      NS             3599    IN      NS             3599    IN      NS             3599    IN      NS             3599    IN      NS
;; Query time: 50 msec
;; WHEN: Mon Jan 11 12:27:26 Eastern Standard Time 2016
;; MSG SIZE  rcvd: 188

The only problem is that I don’t think the TCP option actually worked – I gotta run wireshark to verify. On Linux it definitely works! Not sure what’s wrong with windows. But the other options are working as designed.

OK, wireshark install is failing, but I ran tcpdump on a DNS server I run and confirmed that indeed the +tcp option is working forcing dig to use TCP communication for those queries.

Raspberry Pi

I believe you do

$ sudo apt-get install bind9-dnsutils

At least on a generic Debian system that works. I have to confirm on RPi still.

We’ve demonstrated a low-impact way to install dig for Windows and shown some examples of using it.

References and related

Current BIND link from ISC:

Or…you get get dig through a Cygwin installation. I’ve written about Cygwin here: Cygwin. Or just go to

DNS Linux Network Technologies Perl

Announcing a simple DNS web interface and code

For demonstration purposes I’ve written a WEB interface to do DNS queries. This can be used for light querying. Once it gets abused I will pull it from the web site.

Some large enterprises are behind not only a corporate firewall, but also confined to a private namespace with no access to Internet name resolution. Users in such situations can use one of the many available tools to do DNS resolution through the web, but they all want to throw advertising at you and it’s not clear which can be trusted not to load you up with spyware. I am offering this ad-free DNS lookup using my position on the Internet as a trusted source.

And if you’re lucky and looking for code to do this yourself, you might find it. But nowhere will you find a site that’s running its own published code for DNS resolution. Except here.

The code
Admittedly very simple-minded, but hopefully not fatally flawed, here it is in Perl.

use CGI;
$query = new CGI;
%allowedArgs = (domainname =&gt; 'dum',type =&gt; 'dum',short =&gt; 'dum');
print "Content-type: text/html\n\n";
print "
foreach $key ($query->param) {
  exit(1) unless defined $allowedArgs{$key};
  exit(1) if $query->param($key) !~ /^([a-zA-Z0-9\.-]){2,256}$/;
  print "$key " . $query->param($key) . "\n";
# possible keys: domainname, type
$domainname = $query->param(domainname);
$type     = $query->param(type);
$type = "any" unless $type;
# argument validation checks
exit(1) if $domainname !~ /^([a-zA-Z0-9\.-]){2,256}$/ || $domainname =~ /\.\./ ||  ! $domainname;
exit(1) if $type !~ /^([a-zA-Z]){1,8}$/;

# short answer?
$short = "+short" if defined $query->param(short);

# authoritative request?
if (defined $query->param(authoritative)) {
# this will be a lot more complicated and so is not implemented. Perhaps someday if there is a request...

open(DIG,"dig $short $type $domainname|") || die "Cannot run dig!!\n";
while() {
  print ;

Yes it’s very old-school. I do not even use a DNS package. Why bother? It’s not rocket science. There’s a lot more to argument validation than it looks like – you would not believe the evil things people send to your web server. So you have to vigilant about injection attacks or shelling out by use of unexpected characters.


2020 Update

This URL has been deactivated since I moved to my new server. I’ll have to see if there’s time and interest to restore this functionality.

example 1

type a
; &lt;&lt;&gt;&gt; DiG 9.8.2rc1-RedHat-9.8.2-0.17.rc1.el6_4.4 &lt;&lt;&gt;&gt; a
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; -&gt;&gt;HEADER&lt;&lt;- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 8711
;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 1, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 0
;		IN	A
;; Query time: 10 msec
;; WHEN: Mon May  4 14:59:05 2015
;; MSG SIZE  rcvd: 51

example 2


Familiarity with dig will help you determine the best switches to use as you can see that at the end of the day it is merely calling dig and sending back that output with a minimum of html markup. This will make it easy to parse the output programatically.

A simple DNS web interface is being announced today. Both the service and the code are being made available. The service may be pulled once it becomes abused.

A nice, not too commercial web interface to dig and traceroute that is more user-friendly than mine is
The dig man pages can be helpful.

Got a geoDNS entry? Although this link has ads, it’s quite interesting because it sends your query to open DNS servers around the world:

You can explore some details behind Google’s public resolving server by using the web site: It’s quite helpful.

I won’t paste the link to my service but you can see what it is from the examples above.

There’s a simple but effective DIG available for your Android smartphone from the Playstore. That’s DNS debugger from TurboBytes. No obnoxious ads and yet no cost.

Of course if you are on the Internet and have access to dig, Google’s DNS servers are available for you to use directly.

Want to learn if the Great Friewall of China is clobbering the expected DNS result? The site is designed to do just that.

Admin DNS

The IT Detective Agency: is the guy rebooting our Linux server from France?

Sometimes you get a case that turns out to be silly and puts a smile on your face. This one is hardly worth the effort to write it up, but as I want to portray the life of an IT professional in all its glory and mundacity it’s worth sharing this anecdote.

The details
Yesterday I was migrating some SLES 11 VMs from an old VMWare server to a new platform. A shutdown was required, which I did. I noticed these particular systems had been barely used, hadn’t been booted in over a half year (and hence hadn’t been patched in that long). I guess my enterprise monitoring system actually works because not many minutes after the migration I get a call from the sysadmin, Fautt. He noticed the reboot, but he also noticed something else – a strange IP address associated with the reboot.

He says, over the phone, that the IP is plus some other numbers. Of course when you’re listening over the phone it’s hard to both concentrate on the numbers and understand the concept at the same time. So he threw a giant red herring my way and said that that IP is caught my ear. I recognize that as an ISP in France, with, like most ISPs, a somewhat dodgy reputation (in my opinion) for sending spam. So you see he led me down this path and I took the bait. I said I would look into it. The obvious underlying yet unspoken concern is this: if someone from France is rebooting my servers we have been completely compromised. So this was potentially very serious. Yet I knew I ahd been the one to reboot so I wasn’t actually panicked.

I ran the commands that I knew he must have run to see what he had seen. They look like this:

> last

reboot   system boot Thu Oct 11 14:03          (18:49)
drjohns  pts/0        sys1234.drjohns. Thu Oct 11 13:43 - down   (00:06)
root     pts/0        fauttsys.drjohns Wed Oct 10 11:16 - 11:32  (00:16)
root     :0           console          Wed Feb 15 15:13 - 15:55  (00:41)
root     :0                            Wed Feb 15 15:13 - 15:13  (00:00)
root     tty7         :0               Wed Feb 15 15:13 - 15:54  (00:41)
reboot   system boot Wed Feb 15 15:07         (33+19:43)
fauttdr  pts/1        fauttsys.drjohns Wed Feb 15 14:38 - down   (00:21)

Actually he told me he had just done a last reboot, but this presentation above makes the illusion more dramatic!

So the last entries contain the IP of the system where the admin logged in from, or domain names if the IP could be reverse looked up in DNS.

But, much like a magician who draws your attention to where he wants it to go, it is all a clever illusion. If you run

> dig -x

as Fautt surely must have, you get

; <<>> DiG 9.6-ESV-R5-P1 <<>> -x
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 7990
;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 1, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 0
;                IN      PTR
;; ANSWER SECTION: 42307   IN      PTR
;; Query time: 3 msec
;; WHEN: Fri Oct 12 09:02:21 2012
;; MSG SIZE  rcvd: 96

But I figured that if this was a hack, there might be some mention in Google concerning this notorious IP. I searched for The first few matches talked about a linux kernel.

That was the duh moment! A quick

> uname -a

on the server to confirm:

Linux drjohns28 #1 SMP 2012-01-27 17:38:56 +0100 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

So clearly the reboot line in the last output was using a different convention than the other entries and was providing the kernel version!

I told Fautt and he was duly embarrassed but thought it was funny (there aren’t many good jokes in a sysadmin’s routine, apparently :)).

Case closed.

A good night’s rest is important. When you’re tired you’re much more prone to superficial thinking that allows you to be drawn into someone else’s completely wrong picture of events.