Current Hostname Practice Considered Harmful (RFC8117)
Original Publication Date: 2017-Mar-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2017-Mar-11
Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)
C. Huitema: AUTHOR [+3]
There is a long established practice of giving names to computers. In the Internet protocols, these names are referred to as "hostnames" [RFC7719]. Hostnames are normally used in conjunction with a domain name suffix to build the Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) of a host [RFC1983]. However, it is common practice to use the hostname without further qualification in a variety of applications from file sharing to network management. Hostnames are typically published as part of domain names and can be obtained through a variety of name lookup and discovery protocols.
Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) C. Huitema Request for Comments: 8117 Private Octopus Inc. Category: Informational D. Thaler ISSN: 2070-1721 Microsoft R. Winter University of Applied Sciences Augsburg March 2017
Current Hostname Practice Considered Harmful
Giving a hostname to your computer and publishing it as you roam from one network to another is the Internet's equivalent of walking around with a name tag affixed to your lapel. This current practice can significantly compromise your privacy, and something should change in order to mitigate these privacy threats.
There are several possible remedies, such as fixing a variety of protocols or avoiding disclosing a hostname at all. This document describes some of the protocols that reveal hostnames today and sketches another possible remedy, which is to replace static hostnames by frequently changing randomized values.
Status of This Memo
This document is not an Internet Standards Track specification; it is published for informational purposes.
This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). It represents the consensus of the IETF community. It has received public review and has been approved for publication by the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG). Not all documents approved by the IESG are a candidate for any level of Internet Standard; see Section 2 of RFC 7841.
Information about the current status of this document, any errata, and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8117.
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RFC 8117 Harmful Hostname Practice March 2017
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