London to the rescue of the DNS

On the last day of January, a new meeting took place in London – the biggest meeting ever in the series that started three years ago with the initial TES event. Over thirty participants from all major UK telcos (BT, TalkTalk, Plusnet, EE, LGI/Virgin Media, Sky), several other players and vendors (Nominet, Cloudflare, F-Secure, Scality), ICANN and the UK government showed up for a DNS-themed gathering.

The meeting started with Neil Cook, Open-Xchange‘s Chief Security Architect, presenting DNS security technologies and issues, including how ISPs can use the DNS to increase the security of their network and even provide value-added services to their customers.

The rest of the meeting was then devoted to the hottest issue in the DNS community: DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH), a new protocol that browser makers could use to ignore the local resolver and direct all the DNS queries by their users to their own centralized name servers. PowerDNS‘s founder Bert Hubert introduced the technology and the issue, then two presentations followed: one by Cloudflare, the operator of and of Mozilla‘s current experimental DNS-over-HTTPS server for Firefox, and one by British Telecom, the UK’s main ISP and thus very concerned by these developments. Even if different views were expressed, a constructive and lively debate ensued, and all the participants got up to speed and felt that this deserves full attention and a broader discussion at the technical and policy levels.

As usual, thanks to the generous sponsorship by Scality, the meeting was followed by a dinner; the participants walked for a few minutes along the Thames and on the magnificently lit Tower Bridge, to reach a nice French restaurant where they were welcomed with drinks, a meal, and friendly chats.

Actually, several members of the crowd met again a couple of days later at the FOSDEM, the annual meeting of the free software community in Brussels, where Vittorio Bertola presented the issues around DoH and then a panel of experts discussed them at length.

You can also find Open-Xchange’s own summary of the London event in this blog post.