Next Steps in Preparing for Post-Quantum DNSSEC

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July 20, 2023

In July 2022, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) selected one post-quantum encryption algorithm and three post-quantum signature algorithms for standardization, with standards for these algorithms arriving as early as 2024. In line with this work, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has also started standards development activities on applying post-quantum algorithms to internet protocols in various working groups, including the newly formed Post-Quantum Use in Protocols (PQUIP) working group.

The standards being developed in the next few years are likely to be the ones deployed when the post-quantum transition eventually takes place, so now is the time to take operational requirements for specific protocols into account.

For DNSSEC, the operational concerns are twofold.

First, the large signature sizes of current post-quantum signatures selected by NIST would result in DNSSEC responses that exceed the size limits of the User Datagram Protocol, which is broadly deployed in the DNS ecosystem. While the Transmission Control Protocol and other transports are available, the additional overhead of having large post-quantum signatures on every response—which can be one to two orders of magnitude as long as traditional signatures—introduces operational risk to the DNS ecosystem that would be preferable to avoid.

Second, the large signatures would significantly increase memory requirements for resolvers using in-memory caches and authoritative nameservers using in-memory databases.

Via CircleID