DNS server not resolving external addresses – bind9 Ubuntu 16.

I ran into issues with Bind 9 on Ubuntu 16 very recently. I use an internal caching DNS server for a few reasons – try to protect myself from malware, log DNS requests on my network to have an idea of where all hosts are going – mainly searching for malware or bad websites, block some domains i.e. ad blocking and some others that I might not want to visit, even by accident, etc. Suddenly at some point, I could no longer resolve any addresses that were not in my zones. My forwarders were no longer working, etc. It turned out to be:

dnssec-validation auto;

This line is default in Ubuntu 16’s Bind 9. Why it worked before, I don’t know. I changed it to

dnssec-validation no;

Then everything magically started working again. Hope this saves someone else’s time. 🙂

Protect your home network using TomatoUSB – how to only allow only HTTP/S out!

While we continue to see the WannaCry and other malware around, I thought I would secure my own network. Since I allow visitors onto their networks, I figured I would configure all new DHCP’d hosts to access the Internet only via HTTP and HTTPs and not allow them to use any DNS servers other than OpenDNS. Here’s how to do it:

The first thing I did was create an access restriction. I did this just to see what chain would be created and I would put subsequent rules into that chain.

access restriction screenshot

The previous screenshot created this chain:

Chain rdev07 (1 references)
target prot opt source destination
DROP all -- anywhere

With this chain, I can add additional rules. The first thing I want to do is allow only DNS access to OpenDNS servers and none other. For this, I would run the following commands:

iptables -A rdev07 -4 -p tcp -s -d --dport 53 -j ACCEPT
iptables -A rdev07 -4 -p udp -s -d --dport 53 -j ACCEPT
iptables -A rdev07 -4 -p tcp -s -d --dport 53 -j ACCEPT
iptables -A rdev07 -4 -p udp -s -d --dport 53 -j ACCEPT
iptables -A rdev07 -4 -p tcp -s -d --dport 53 -j REJECT
iptables -A rdev07 -4 -p udp -s -d --dport 53 -j REJECT

These rules basically allow DNS queries from my network to the 2 OpenDNS servers. The last 2 rules mean that no other DNS servers outside of those 2 servers can be queried. The reason I do this is because there is some malware out there that will change the DNS servers to query on Windows, effectively overriding the DHCP setting. An alternative to this would be to configure Tomato to intercept DNS requests, but I would rather do it this way.

I added the following rules because I had noticed for some reason that some connections coming back from OpenDNS were dropped. I think they’re optional, but I put them in.

iptables -A rdev07 -4 -p tcp -s -d --sport 53 -j ACCEPT
iptables -A rdev07 -4 -p udp -s -d --sport 53 -j ACCEPT
iptables -A rdev07 -4 -p tcp -s -d --sport 53 -j ACCEPT
iptables -A rdev07 -4 -p udp -s -d --sport 53 -j ACCEPT

Next, I go to create my whitelist – this would be my iPhone, iPad, android, etc – any hosts that I trust. I’m going to allow these host to go out to any host with TCP and UDP.


iptables -A rdev07 -4 -p tcp -s -d -j ACCEPT
iptables -A rdev07 -4 -p tcp -s -d -j ACCEPT
iptables -A rdev07 -4 -p tcp -s -d -j ACCEPT
iptables -A rdev07 -4 -p udp -s -d -j ACCEPT
iptables -A rdev07 -4 -p udp -s -d -j ACCEPT
iptables -A rdev07 -4 -p udp -s -d -j ACCEPT
I know that they can still get viruses. I hope they don’t. They can only use OpenDNS for DNS services, but they can access basically anything outside on any port.
Lastly, I configure the rules to allow only HTTP and HTTPs out.
iptables -A rdev07 -4 -p tcp -s -d --dport 80 -j ACCEPT
iptables -A rdev07 -4 -p tcp -s -d --dport 443 -j ACCEPT
iptables -A rdev07 -4 -p all -s -d -j DROP
With this, anyone else on the network can connect to port 80 and 443 of any host on the Internet. Then, any traffic going out to any other port is dropped.
After testing all commands and seeing that they worked for me, I put them all into Administration/Scripts/Firewall.
Inserting custom firewall rules
Have fun and be safe! Please post any comments below.

What in the world is irlwinning.com? DDOS?

Recently, I set up my own DNS server. I hadn’t run a public DNS server in years. Since the tvpads recently had some DNS issues, I thought maybe I could help eliminate some support calls by running my own DNS server, pointing to the right servers. Boy was I wrong! For some reason, even though some others on comcast would point to my server as a DNS server, they would still get answers that were not the answers given from my server! It was so bizarre! I had never seen it before. If they ran nslookup and used “server <DNS Server IP>” and typed in the name they wanted to resolve, it’s almost as if the server statement prior was ignored and they were getting the IP that the ISP wanted to give them.

Anyways, that’s not the problem I’m writing about here. Surfing some websites became slow for some reason and I thought I would investigate. The first thing I went to see was what connections I had to the outside world. I went to the router and looked at the traffic. Here’s what I saw:
Obviously, that’s DNS traffic. Well, go to the DNS server and what do I see? This:

10-Oct-2013 15:34:14.228 queries: client query: irlwinning.com IN ANY +E
10-Oct-2013 15:34:14.670 queries: client query: irlwinning.com IN ANY +E

Many different lines of the same exact query. What is it? I have no idea. I’ve decided just to shut down DNS queries for now, but if anyone knows anything about this, I’d be happy to hear from you.


How to Set Up DNS Blacklisting in a Lab Environment for Test

This is a very simple setup for those who have a lab environment where they do not want to be connected to the public Internet while doing the testing.

Some background:

The way dnsbl works is that when a connection is made to your mail server, it will take the client’s IP address, reverse it, append a domain onto it, and do a dns A or TXT record lookup for that name.

For example, if a spammer’s IP is, and you are using spam.list.com as your dnsbl site, your MTA will do a query for If the query returns positive, it means that the IP address is listed in the blackhole list and that mail should be rejected.

So the first thing you will need to do is set up a simple dns server. You can find out how to do that by consulting the DNS & Bind book or http://docs.sun.com/db/doc/816-7511 or various other sources.

Then, you need to set up a zone. Here's a sample:
# cat /var/named/spam.list.com
$TTL 86400 
@ 1D IN SOA @ root (
  42 ; serial
 3H ; refresh
 15M ; retry
 1W ; expiry
 1D ) ; minimum
NS localhost.
 A IN A IN TXT " is listed in spam.list.com"

With this in tact, all you need to do is set up your MTA to use spam.list.com for dnsbl calls.