Launching DNS Crawler

As a planned milestone in the ADAM project (Advanced DNS Analytics and Measurements), CZ.NIC Laboratories in cooperation with CSIRT.CZ are about to commence regular operation of DNS crawler. This tool will periodically scan all second-level domains under TLD .cz, collect selected publicly available data about them, and process them further in various ways. Despite the name, the DNS crawler will collect data not only from DNS; it will also communicate with each domain’s web and e-mail server. We plan to run the tool with two periods: most data items will be collected on a weekly basis, only the contents of main web pages <domain>.cz or www.<domain>.cz will be retrieved less frequently – once a month. In addition, newly registered domains will be subject to an extra scrutiny: their data will be retrieved daily for the first two weeks of their existence. The DNS crawler software is designed so as to minimize the impact on the operation of second-level domains and network infrastructure in general. Data obtained from the crawler will be used for these principal purposes:

WireGuard on Turris

Now more then ever, people connect and work remotely. Everybody uses some kind of VPN, at least in the tech world. The new, trendy and cool way of doing VPNs is Wireguard. Everybody speaks about it and since March it is finally a part of Linux kernel. Its advantages are that it is setup in more straight forward way than alternatives and that it is blazingly fast.

DNS stack, now in CESNET

As we have reported several times, after massive upgrades of the anycast DNS for the .CZ domain zone in recent years and building of the 100GbE DNS infrastructure, we are now focusing more on targeted tuning of the anycast operation. For example, we try launching new DNS stacks in the locations of significant DNS traffic sources, both abroad and in Czechia. The launch of the DNS stack on the CESNET network at the beginning of April is the most recent fruit of this work.

Current statistics on global situation regarding COVID-19 at one place

The internet has been recently flooded with websites trying to create various statistical information regarding the new coronavirus. Just within the Czech register, there are several. If you are on of the people who like to follow latest “coronavirus” numbers or if you use them in your work, you can face multiple obstacles. Some of the statistics give you the data you need, but they are outdated and are not regurlarly refreshed. In case of dynamic visualizations, you are limited by fixed boundaries. If you are not satisfied with that, you can try a newly created tool for generating dynamic visualizations from the CZ.NIC Association that offers a broad set of features and settings. You can for example choose any country/region and a formula for your desired curve, copy URL and of course refresh the data simply by pressing F5. Everything you can find on the web page

NIX.CZ DNS hosting and .gt ccTLD

Recently, two entities have asked us to help them host their DNS zones and  in both cases, we were happy to oblige. One of them was the Czech neutral peering node NIX.CZ, with which we often share technical know-how and help each other when it makes sense. The other one was the domain register of Guatemala operating the .gt ccTLD, which we humored as part of our long-term support of developing registers, like we have done the case with the registers of Angola, Malawi, Tanzania or North Macedonia.

Protecting your servers with Turris Sentinel

Little bit of history

Apart from operating .CZ top level domain, CZ.NIC does a lot of other interesting things contributing to the common good. Part of it is running Czech national CSIRT team, doing security research and raising awareness about potential security issues. As part of our security research, we started wondering a long time ago how much are the average Joes and Janes attacked, by who and how. People that are just connected to the internet, run no public service and are just consumers. If only there was some kind of probe that would allow us to see what is going on there…

Fun we had at AT&T hackathon

At the end of November last year awesome crew from AT&T organized a hackathon about various aspects of smart technology. They have a long tradition in organizing those and they are really good at it. We spoke at various conferences with them and they asked us whether we would be interested in joining as we have interesting hardware to lend contestants and also developers skilled in various areas that could help the attendees to overcome various issues. We jumped on board right a way!

Epic DNS Benchmarking

DNS is one of the critical services necessary for proper operation of the Internet. Also it is often a target of various cyber attacks. Considering this fact, operators of authoritative DNS servers require robust solutions offering enough performance for regular DNS traffic and resisting possible attacks against this service. That is the reason why we focus, besides other aspects, on the performance during development of our authoritative DNS server Knot DNS. Benchmarking is an inseparable part of the project and we have been exploring various ways of further performance growth. Recently we had a great opportunity to play with the epic 128-thread processor AMD EPYC 7702P. In this blog post I will share some results from its benchmarking.