DNSScope: Fine-Grained DNS Cache Probing for Remote Network Activity Characterization

Jianfeng Li, Zheng Lin, Xiaobo Ma, Jianhao Li, Jian Qu, Xiapu Luo, Xiaohong Guan

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review


The domain name system (DNS) is indispensable to nearly every Internet service. It has been extensively utilized for network activity characterization in passive and active approaches. Compared to the passive approach, active DNS cache probing is privacy-preserving and low-cost, enabling worldwide characterization of remote network activities in different networks. Unfortunately, existing probing-based methods are too coarse-grained to characterize the time-varying features of network activities, substantially limiting their applications in time-sensitive tasks. In this paper, we advance DNSScope, a fine-grained DNS cache probing framework by tackling three challenges: sample sparsity, observational distortion, and cache entanglement. DNSScope synthesizes statistical learning and self-supervised transfer learning to achieve time-varying characterization. Extensive evaluations demonstrate that it can accurately estimate the time-varying DNS query arrival rates on recursive DNS resolvers. Its average mean absolute error is 0.124, as low as one-sixth that of the baseline methods.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIEEE International Conference on Computer Communications
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


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