DNS security is a broad utility network protocol that keeps the Internet responsive, safe, and sound. Securing such protocols is necessary mainly because DNS security sometimes is ignored by the security team. DNS security is all about protecting against DNS exploits. In this article, we will answer the questions “why is DNS security important?” and “How to achieve DNS security?”.
DNS queries are necessary for almost any kind of web traffic, and hackers are looking for any chance to carry out DNS exploits. Such attacks can be used to collect users’ sensitive data and expose businesses to significant security risks.
DNS and DNS Security
Before answering why DNS Security is essential, a few fundamental terms must be explained. In the article What Is DNS? How Does DNS Work? We said that Domain Name System or DNS is a protocol converting a human-readable domain into an IP address to connect to. This makes it possible for people to use memorable domain names instead of memorizing numbers. DNS makes using the Internet easier for people. Since DNS is an intermediary layer between people and the Internet, it can be exploited for increased safety. DNS cannot provide internal security, and that is why DNS security is important. DNS protection offers an incredible opportunity to improve security.
In another article, What Is DNS Security? We discussed that DNS security is a general concept of securing the DNS service as a whole. A DNS security will ask for the intentions of the queries. It will leverage the DNS data and DNS query traffic to ensure safety. Based on this administrator can gauge the internet queries rather than seeing the query logs only.
When the information is completed, malicious patterns can be detected, and the infected service will be identified. DNS security provides valuable protections by using various methods and software. DNS security as a strategic tool will be incorporated into a network of security plans such as filters, DNSSEC, firewalls, or on-device agents. DNS security provides granular visibility into external, internal, east, and west traffic.
Why is DNS Security Important?
Clarifying “Why is DNS security important?” is a broad and essential subject. If the DNS cannot provide total security, there must be some other protection solution to employ. DNS security solution provides an additional layer of protection between a user and the Internet by creating a list of dangerous sites and filtering out unwanted content. DNS security will eliminate risks and the potential malicious attacks involving the Domain Name System. DNS security is important because it can provide the following benefits:
DNS security can block out dangerous sites and malicious content. Combining content filtering measures capable of identifying phishing attempts can reduce the chance of falling into simple types of phishing attacks.
With IoT being popular, botnet protection becomes more vital. It will block communication with known botnet servers.
It will block any unwanted sites and content without requiring additional software installation. It will reduce the chance of malicious attacks. It can block advertising content as well. Advertisements may attempt to collect data, have malicious applications inside, damage performance, and reduce efficiency.
Malicious attacks always purchase typo domains to install malicious programs or collect data from them. Typo domain seems regular, but it could collect the data once a user enters it. For instance, it can correct “gogle.com” to “google.com.”
Secure DNS servers can offer a faster lookup rather than ISP DNS servers. It increases reliability and a greater level of performance.
What Are the Most Common Attacks Involving DNS?
So now, after answering “Why is DNS security important?”, let us cover some of the prevalent kinds of attacks carried out by targeting and exploiting DNS servers:
DNS Spoofing (Cache Poisoning)
Forged DNS data is given to the DNS resolver’s cache in this attack, and the resolver will return an incorrect IP address. Traffic will be diverted to a malicious environment, and the original site will be used for malicious plans like collecting login information or distributing malware.
DNS tunnelling uses protocols to tunnel DNS queries and responses. Attackers use SSH, TCP, or HTTP to pass the information into DNS queries.
DNS hijacking attackers send queries to a different domain name server by malware or unauthorized modification of the DNS server. These attacks aim for DNS records of the website on the nameserver.
Domain Lock-up Attack
These attacks are made through special domains and resolvers, creating TCP connections with legitimate resolvers. When the request is sent, these domains send slow streams of random packets to tie up the target’s resources.
Phantom Domain Attack
Attackers create a group of phantom domain servers to respond to a request or not at all. Then the resolver will be flooded with a vast number of requests to these domains, so it gets tied up waiting for responses causing slow performance and denial of service attacks (DDoS).
It is a type of DNS flood attack where the attackers will inundate a DNS server with a request, asking for records that do not exist. This will cause a denial of service for legitimate traffic. These attacks can target a recursive resolver and fill the cache with fake requests.
Botnet-based CPE Attack
These attacks happen by using CPE (Customer Premise Equipment) devices. The attackers will compromise the CPEs, and they become a botnet performing random subdomain attacks against sites or domains.
Considering that the mentioned attacks are only some of the threats related to DNS servers, you will become more aware of why DNS security is important. Now that the benefits of DNS security are explained, the next step is how to achieve it.
How to Achieve DNS Security
Malicious attacks can affect DNS servers either by altering their function or abusing their vulnerabilities. Without a proper DNS security measure, a business will be exposed to different attacks. Therefore, it is vital to implement threat mitigation and prevention methods, including Vulnerability Management, Email Security, Antiviruses, Privileged Access Management, Business Email Compromise Prevention, and DNS security as the basis of cybersecurity foundation. A reputed DNS solution like ArvanCloud DNS service can take care of all needs and requirements. Below are some of the DNS security that helps to maintain security.
DNS Security Extensions (DNSSEC)
DNSSEC is a practical method to protect and validate DNS records. It uses digital signature key pairs (PKI) to validate a DNS query coming from a proper source. It will also validate the DNS query’s response. It signs all serve answers. With signature checking, a DNSSEC resolver verifies if the data coming from a trusted server is identical to the authoritative DNS server’s date. If not, the request will be denied.
DNS filtering will prevent access to malicious domains and web pages. DNS server searches for the IP address and allows the browser to load a requested website. Before completing the DNS revolution, every request must be checked. If a web page or domain is known as malicious, the DNS filter will block the requests, and the browser will be directed to a webpage that states a site cannot be accessed. So, a blacklist of malicious IP addresses and web pages will be formed, and the access will be restricted.
Monitoring DNS Activity
Monitoring DNS activity and logs will help notice suspicious traffic patterns related to a compromise. An unforeseen change in the volume of traffic can be a sign of a compromise pattern.
Protective DNS Service
To stop using DNS for malware delivery, the Protective Domain Name Service (PDNS) was introduced. It is a free internet-accessible DNS server provided by the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) and implemented by Nominet UK. This is a recursive resolver. PDNS will find answers to DNS queries, and NCSC will control the domains (authoritative DNS). The Protective DNS service adoption does not influence it.