DNS Security Risks - Common Types of Attacks and Ways to Prevent Them

Organizations and businesses with a serious online presence should always be aware of their level of DNS security. As the backbone of the internet, a secured DNS ensures that online visitors, customers as well as the website itself is safe from different types of attacks. It is a challenge network administrators have to face on a constant basis. According to the American Registry for Internet Numbers, weaknesses in the DNS system can be easily exploited which could result in numerous problems not only to the website but the online users as well.

Common Types of DNS Attacks

A vulnerability to the DNS could lead to malicious exploitation leading to different types of attacks depending on their targets.

  • DNS Redirection - also known as DNS Spoofing, it is an extremely dangerous type of attack because it practically hijacks the user queries so they could be redirected to another website. Unsuspecting users are usually redirected to another website for further exploitation or simply get into the server and take note of every query. Both are very dangerous but a hacked server through DNS spoofing could lead to a more serious consequence especially for websites with financial transactions.
  • DNS Tunneling - attacks of this kind often involve a payload whose specific role is to take control of the server and even applications used to control it. This type of attack is intended to steal data/information with very little detection. It can be detected by active network administrators who are fully aware of this type of DNS vulnerability.
  • DNS Amplification Attack - the main goal of this type of attack is to bring down the website through DDoS or Denial of Service. Hackers push a bot that would send requests to multiple DNS Resolvers for a single website. Eventually, the website will have to deal with multiple requests to the point that it can no longer answer such requests in a timely period. This type of DDoS attack is extra sinister because it uses multiple DNS Resolvers making it challenging to trace the source of attacks.

Maintaining DNS Infrastructure Security

While there are numerous DNS-based attacks that render any website vulnerable, there are security measures that can be used for protection.

  • Using a DNS Firewall - one of the most powerful solutions in preventing DNS based attacks is using a firewall. While there are standard firewalls for online security, a DNS firewall focuses on DNS transactions. It can effectively check the incoming queries and push back requests from suspicious sources.
  • DNSSEC or Domain Name Security - this method of security offers protection through a verified digital signature. Through DNSSEC, users can actually validate if the data came from a reliable origin. This type of solution offers an ideal take on end-to-end connection but the required setup for this to work which could need time, resources as well as additional expertise in DNSSEC.
  • Employing Cloud Based DNS Security - simplified set-up for the business and limited hardware requirements has also pushed network administrators to consider cloud based services. Protection through the cloud has made it a lot easier for administrators because of its capability to adapt to large requests with additional 3rd party support to prevent any types of attacks. Using cloud based security for DNS has been highly effective in preventing DDoS because of its server capabilities.

Every network administrator has to be fully aware of DNS vulnerability. Unfortunately, DNS vulnerabilities exist and it's up to individual websites to create safety nets to prevent any types of problems related to DNS. User security and online visibility has to be preserved at all costs and it all starts with a secured DNS infrastructure.

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