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Current Hostname Practice Considered Harmful (RFC8117)

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000249640D
Original Publication Date: 2017-Mar-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2017-Mar-11
Document File: 24 page(s) / 27K

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

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.

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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.

Huitema, et al.               Informational                     [Page 1]
 RFC 8117                Harmful Hostname Practice             March 2017

 Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2017 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the    document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal    Provisions Relating to IETF Documents    (http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of    publication of this document.  Please review these documents    carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect    to this document.  Code Compo...