Protecting Browsers from DNS Rebinding Attacks

Authors: C. Jackson, A. Barth, A. Bortz, W. Shao, and D. Boneh

DNS rebinding attacks subvert the same-origin policy of browsers and convert them into open network proxies. We survey new DNS rebinding attacks that exploit the interaction between browsers and their plug-ins, such as Flash and Java. These attacks can be used to circumvent firewalls and are highly cost-effective for sending spam e-mail and defrauding pay-per-click advertisers, requiring less than $100 to temporarily hijack 100,000 IP addresses. We show that the classic defense against these attacks, called "DNS pinning," is ineffective in modern browsers. The primary focus of this work, however, is the design of strong defenses against DNS rebinding attacks that protect modern browsers: we suggest easy-to-deploy patches for plug-ins that prevent large-scale exploitation, provide a defense tool, dnswall, that prevents firewall circumvention, and detail two defense options, policy-based pinning and host name authorization.

ACM Transactions on the Web (TWEB), Vol. 3(1), 2009,
extended abstract in proceedings of the 14'th ACM conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS), pp. 421-431, 2007

Full paper: pdf