From banking to e-commerce and retail to restaurant chains, it’s imperative for every business to have a digital presence on the internet today. However, the advantage of online presence comes with a cost — security risks to a company’s digital assets. Threat actors leverage various malicious techniques to manipulate digital assets, and one of them is Domain Name System (DNS) attacks. According to the 2021 Global DNS Threat Report, nearly 90% of organizations have suffered a DNS attack last year, with over 26% of organizations reporting that sensitive customer information is still being stolen.
By Rudra Srinivas, Senior Feature Writer, CISO MAG
What is a DNS Attack?
DNS is a service that allows users to access websites on their devices by using a domain name to connect a cloud network via an Internet Protocol (IP) address. The DNS protocol interprets an alphabetic domain name into a numeric IP address. In DNS attacks, cybercriminals exploit the unpatched vulnerabilities in the domain name system to compromise targeted devices and pilfer sensitive data.
Types of DNS Attacks
Cybercriminals often take advantage of security loopholes or unpatched flaws in the domain name system to launch different kinds of DNS attacks. These include:
1. DNS Spoofing Attack
Also known as DNS cache poisoning or DNS poisoning, a DNS spoofing attack corrupts the DNS server by changing the actual IP address with the bogus one in the server’s cache memory. Attackers use this technique to redirect the web traffic to the hackers-controlled site to harvest sensitive data.
2. DDoS Attack
In a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, adversaries try to make a targeted system or service unavailable to its users by flooding it with unwanted incoming traffic from multiple sources.
3. DNS Reflection/Amplification Attack
A DNS reflection/amplification attack is a two-step DDoS attack in which the hacker manipulates open DNS servers with a spoofed IP address to send massive web traffic to the targeted victim. The DNS reflection attack could make the victim organization unable to access its data.
4. Fast Flux DNS Attack
In fast-flux attacks, threat actors use botnets to hide their phishing and malware activities from security scans by using ever-changing IP addresses of compromised hosts acting as proxies.
Mitigating DNS Attacks
DNS service is like a giant contact list that a device uses to reach the stipulated IP address. Implementing a robust security plan and following some basic security precautions can help defend against evolving DNS attacks. These include:
- Always use the latest version of DNS software
- Constantly monitor the In and Out web traffic
- Enable multifactor authentication to the DNS infrastructure
- Deploy Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) for better verification
- Keep the DNS server updated by fixing unpatched flaws
- Regularly audit the DNS zones
Internet is open for everyone, including cybercriminals who severely exploit the weak points in a company’s security infrastructure. Having a robust DNS security strengthening policy will certainly help organizations mitigate various DNS attacks.
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