Monday, March 4, 2024

DNS Security: How to Reduce the Risk of a DNS Attack

The Domain Name System, also known as DNS, is one of the fundamental components that make up the internet as a whole; nevertheless, unless you specialize in networking, it is unlikely that you are aware of how significant its role is.

The Domain Name System (DNS) is like a phone book in that it contains the numbers that computers use to communicate with one another. To be more specific, these numbers are Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.

This directory is kept on domain name servers located all over the world, and a single website might have multiple IP addresses at the same time.

In spite of the significance of the Domain Name System (DNS), network security typically does not give sufficient attention to this component.

In terms of importance, DNS security is typically ranked lower on the totem pole than other types of protection, such as firewalls, proxies, and endpoint protection, for example.

It was said before that the Domain Name System (DNS) is the backbone of the internet, and that it might be a target of cyberattacks. Any application that is connected to the network can be accessed via the Domain Name System (DNS).

On the other hand, despite the fact that the DNS can be a target, it also has the potential to be an invaluable source of safety if it is managed appropriately and protected.

In order to better protect your DNS, familiarize yourself with the following information.

Table of Content

What is DNS Security?
Understand Vulnerabilities
What Did the 2018 Global DNS Threat Report Reveal?
Network Security Tips


1. What is the difference between DNS security and a firewall?

DNS security protects queries and replies in the domain name system (DNS). It does this by blocking DNS-based threats like spoofing and amplification attacks.

This could mean using methods like DNSSEC to make sure that DNS data is real.

On the other hand, a firewall watches over and controls all network data, both coming in and going out. It creates a wall of protection between known internal networks and possibly untrusted external ones.

It does this by using a set of rules to decide whether to allow or block data packets, which gives more protection.

2. What is the full form of DNS security?

The phrase “DNS security” doesn’t really have a full form because DNS stands for “Domain Name System.” There are procedures and steps in place to protect the Domain Name System from attacks and threats.

This is what we mean by “DNS security.” As a result, these steps protect the accuracy and security of DNS data, which stops attackers from sending users to harmful websites or using DNS for bad things.

The main focus is on keeping the process safe that turns domain names into IP numbers and back again.

3. Is DNS encrypted?

Traditional DNS queries and replies are not encrypted by default. This means that third parties can easily read, intercept, or change them while they are in transit.

This lack of security can make people worried about their privacy and leave them open to attacks like “man-in-the-middle.” However new methods like DNS over HTTPS (DoH) and DNS over TLS (DoT) have been made to fix these security and privacy problems.

These protocols encrypt DNS data, which means that DNS queries stay private and safe as they go from the client to the DNS server. This makes the internet a safer and more private place for everyone.

4. Is DNS better than VPN?

It’s not fair to compare DNS (Domain Name System) and VPN (Virtual Private Network) because their main purposes are very different. DNS is a method that turns domain names into IP addresses so that devices can connect to websites.

A virtual private network (VPN), on the other hand, makes a safe and protected link over a less safe network, like the Internet. It hides the user’s IP address and encrypts data while it’s being sent, protecting their privacy.

Some DNS services, like DNS over HTTPS (DoH), can help with privacy, but they don’t give the full encryption and privacy of a VPN. It is important to know their different functions and advantages before choosing which is “better” for your needs.

What is DNS Security?

DNS Security refers to protective measures and protocols implemented to safeguard the Domain Name System (DNS) against cyber threats and attacks. The DNS is integral to internet functionality, as it translates human-readable domain names (like into IP addresses that machines use to identify websites. Due to its critical nature, it can be a target for various types of attacks, such as:

  1. DNS Spoofing (or Cache Poisoning): Attackers provide false DNS response data, leading users to malicious websites.
  2. DDoS Attacks: Using DNS servers to amplify traffic in Distributed Denial of Service attacks.
  3. DNS Tunneling: Using DNS requests to bypass network security measures and exfiltrate data or establish a covert command and control channel.

Understand Vulnerabilities

Some of the things a cybercriminal will do when they attack a DNS are to make it so that different IP addresses are reported, which allows them to scam people, redirect email and web traffic, or launch DNS amplifying attacks.

When this happens, visitors to your website would have no way of knowing they were being redirected somewhere else, or that their email wasn’t being sent to the server they thought it was. It’s difficult to detect this kind of attack when it’s already in place, which is why DNS security should be a top focus area. Prevention is the best objective.

What Did the 2018 Global DNS Threat Report Reveal?

In 2018, DNS attacks brought serious problems around the world. According to the 2018 Global DNS Threat Report, 77% of organizations faced DNS attacks in the 12 months before the report.

The report also showed that 20% of global organizations were victims of DNS tunneling, which is a favorite among hackers because it’s so tough to detect and it usually can go on for a long period of time before that happens.

Some of the biggest incidents last year were:

  • A 16-year-old tunneled into Apple servers and gained access to 90 gigabytes of files. He did so over a 12 month-period all from his home in Melbourne. This was an excellent example of how easy it is for hackers to go through firewalls and not be detected, even by the largest organizations.
  • Several big banks were affected by DNS attacks. For example, RBS was one of the names with operations significantly impacted by these attacks.
  • When an organization faces a DNS attack, it can cost them massively. For 2018 attacks on financial organizations, the cost was on average $924,390 excluding the costs related to damage to brand image and customer loyalty.
  • There was something called Xbash that recently surfaced, which is an evolved form of malware. Xbash attacks occur when there are weak passwords and machines that are unpatched.

Network Security Tips

The following are some specific security tips and best practices to reduce the risk of an attack.

  • Look for strange traffic behaviors. You can use both live and context-aware DNS transaction analytics. This will allow you to start to see where there could be threats based on certain behaviors.
  • Use DNS public records to see all of your zones and provide audits of them. It’s very easy to forget about things like subdomains that might have outdated software.
  • Don’t make the assumption you’re protected by cloud providers.
  • Think about a holistic approach to network security. For example, add multiple layers of security to your overall strategies and solutions.
  • Always keep your DNS servers up to date. The less up-to-date your servers are, the more vulnerabilities there are. If you stay up to date, you’re strengthening yourself against the potential for attacks.
  • DNS firewalls can be useful tools as well.
  • Prevent a DNS poisoning attack, which is one of the most common types of DNS attacks, by disabling DNS recursion.

If you are the target of a DNS attack, it can destroy your network and cripple your business due to the foundational component of DNS. The number of reported DNS attacks on businesses almost doubled in 2018 year-over-year, and the cost of the damage related to these attacks is extremely high.

If you’re proactive in dealing with DNS security, you can protect your entire business from something that could be potentially extremely difficult to recover from.

What is a DNS Attack and How Does it Work?

DHS Issued Emergency Directive Ordering Federal Agencies To Audit DNS Activity for their Domains


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Guru baran
Guru baran
Gurubaran is a co-founder of Cyber Security News and GBHackers On Security. He has 10+ years of experience as a Security Consultant, Editor, and Analyst in cybersecurity, technology, and communications.

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