DNS Zone Transfers

A zone transfer is a transaction that is intended to be used to replicate DNS databases between DNS servers.

This action provides us with DNS information.

Open AI explains it very basically (like I’m 5)

Okay, imagine you have a toy box with a bunch of different toys inside. You like to play with your toys and sometimes you invite your friends over to play with them too.

Now, let's say you have a really big toy box with lots and lots of toys inside, and you want to share all of your toys with your friend. Instead of taking out each toy one by one and showing them to your friend, you can just let your friend look inside the whole toy box at once!

This is kind of like how a DNS zone transfer works. A DNS server is like your toy box, and it holds a bunch of information about different websites and domain names. When another DNS server wants to know about all the information inside your DNS server (like all the toys in your toy box), it can request a zone transfer. This lets the other server look inside your DNS server and see all the information at once, instead of having to ask for each piece of information individually.

Just like you might only share your toy box with a trusted friend, DNS servers only allow zone transfers to other trusted DNS servers that they have a relationship with.

Common ways to do DNS Zone transfers

  1. using host: host -t axfr domain.name dns-server
  2. Using dig: dig axfr @target.nameserver.com domain.name
  3. Using an Nmap script: nmap -script dons-zone-transfer.nse -script-args dns-zone-transfer.domain<domain> -p53 <hosts>