Publications Technical Report

New tech report “Characterizing Anycast in the Domain Name System”

We just published an new technical report of our anycast enumeration work, including some exciting new results. Check out “Characterizing Anycast in the Domain Name System” (available at .

From the abstract:

IP anycast is a central part of production DNS. While prior
work has explored proximity, affinity and load balancing
for some anycast services, there has been little attention to
third-party discovery and enumeration of components of an
anycast service. Enumeration can reveal abnormal service
configurations, benign masquerading or hostile hijacking of
anycast services, and can help characterize the extent of any-
cast deployment. In this paper, we discuss two methods to
identify and characterize anycast nodes. The first uses an
existing anycast diagnosis method based on CHAOS-class
DNS records but augments it with traceroute to resolve
ambiguities. The second proposes Internet-class DNS records
which permit accurate discovery through the use of existing
recursive DNS infrastructure. We validate these two meth-
ods against three widely-used anycast DNS services, using
a very large number (60k and 300k) of vantage points, and
show that they can provide excellent precision and recall.
Finally, we use these methods to evaluate anycast deploy-
ments in top-level domains (TLDs), and find one case where
a third-party operates a server masquerading as a root DNS
anycast node as well as a noticeable proportion of unusual
anycast proxies. We also show that, across all TLDs, up to
72% use anycast, and that, of about 30 anycast providers,
the two largest serve nearly half the anycasted TLD name-

Citation: Xun Fan, John Heidemann and Ramesh Govindan. Characterizing Anycast in the Domain Name System. Technical Report N. ISI-TR-681, USC/Information Sciences Institute, May, 2012.