CVE-2020-8617: A logic error in code which checks TSIG validity can be used to trigger an assertion failure in tsig.c
  • 19 May 2020
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CVE-2020-8617: A logic error in code which checks TSIG validity can be used to trigger an assertion failure in tsig.c

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Article summary

CVE: CVE-2020-8617

Document version: 2.0

Posting date: 19 May 2020

Program impacted: BIND

Versions affected: BIND 9.0.0 -> 9.11.18, 9.12.0 -> 9.12.4-P2, 9.14.0 -> 9.14.11, 9.16.0 -> 9.16.2, and releases 9.17.0 -> 9.17.1 of the 9.17 experimental development branch. All releases in the obsolete 9.13 and 9.15 development branches. All releases of BIND Supported Preview Edition from 9.9.3-S1 -> 9.11.18-S1.

Severity: High

Exploitable: Remotely


An error in BIND code which checks the validity of messages containing TSIG resource records can be exploited by an attacker to trigger an assertion failure in tsig.c, resulting in denial of service to clients.


Using a specially-crafted message, an attacker may potentially cause a BIND server to reach an inconsistent state if the attacker knows (or successfully guesses) the name of a TSIG key used by the server.

Since BIND, by default, configures a local session key even on servers whose configuration does not otherwise make use of it, almost all current BIND servers are vulnerable.

In releases of BIND dating from March 2018 and after, an assertion check in tsig.c detects this inconsistent state and deliberately exits. Prior to the introduction of the check the server would continue operating in an inconsistent state, with potentially harmful results.

CVSS Score: 7.0


For more information on the Common Vulnerability Scoring System and to obtain your specific environmental score please visit:


None known.

Active exploits:

We are not aware of any active exploits.


Upgrade to the patched release most closely related to your current version of BIND:

  • BIND 9.11.19
  • BIND 9.14.12
  • BIND 9.16.3

BIND Supported Preview Edition is a special feature preview branch of BIND provided to eligible ISC support customers.

  • BIND 9.11.19-S1

Acknowledgments: ISC would like to thank Tobias Klein for discovering and reporting this issue.

Document revision history:

1.0 Delivery to early advance notification customers
1.1 Added Acknowledgments section
1.2 CVSS score adjusted, as delivery of fixed versions changes CVSSv3 environmental subscore
1.3 Added warning about local session key
2.0 Public disclosure

Related documents:

See our BIND 9 Security Vulnerability Matrix for a complete listing of security vulnerabilities and versions affected.

Do you still have questions? Questions regarding this advisory should go to To report a new issue, please encrypt your message using's PGP key which can be found here: If you are unable to use encrypted email, you may also report new issues at:


ISC patches only currently supported versions. When possible we indicate EOL versions affected. (For current information on which versions are actively supported, please see

ISC Security Vulnerability Disclosure Policy:

Details of our current security advisory policy and practice can be found in the ISC Software Defect and Security Vulnerability Disclosure Policy at

The Knowledgebase article is the complete and official security advisory document.

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