BIND8's useless messages

Andris Kalnozols andris at
Tue Jul 18 05:55:04 UTC 2000

> On Jul 17,  9:31pm, Andrew Brown wrote:
> } Subject: Re: BIND8's useless messages
> } 
> } i would like to point out that sendmail (as an example of a
> } widely used mta) doesn't necessarily do gethostbyname(), particularly
> } since it needs the mx records which *aren't* returned by
> } gethostbyname().
On July 17, Don Lewis then wrote:
> Sendmail does an MX lookup and then calls gethostbyname() on the host
> names contained in the MX RRs.  Sendmail ignores any A RRs contained
> in the additional data section of the response to its MX query, so it's
> not a fatal problem if an address are missing because the MX pointed to
> a CNAME because gethostbyname() will follow the CNAME and find the A RR.
> when sendmail looks up the IP address for each MX.

Just as an FYI, here's a scenario where sendmail's resolution process
results in less-than-robust mail delivery:

  1. Sendmail uses a nameserver configured with the option
     'check-names response fail'.

  2. Mail is addressed to a domain with illegal data, typically a
     a malformed RDATA field in the SOA RR such as
     'administrator.' or 'user\@domain'.  As certain non-BIND
     nameservers proliferate on the Internet, we're noticing
     an increasing number of these :-(

  3. Sendmail initially issues a query of record-type ANY which
     causes the retrieval of the bad SOA RR.  Sendmail notices
     the rejected query and (re-)queues the message.  Delivery
     ultimately fails if the the remote site's DNS is not fixed
     before the queue timeout interval is reached.

I haven't tested this, but sendmail's insistence on using the
ANY query is alleged to also make it vulnerable to ignoring MX 
RRs under the following scenario:

  @         8H IN A
            4H IN MX   5  mailhost
  mailhost  8H IN A

If the A RRs are still cached after the MX RR has expired,
sendmail will (allegedly) attempt delivery to instead

LaMont informs me that Postfix is not vulnerable to either of
these scenarios.


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