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6 Types of DNS Attacks and why you need to secure the DNS Layer

Posted by Trevagh Stankard on Tue, Aug 24th, 2021

DNS Attacks are critical for organizations of all sizes, and all industries. We now live in an age in which accidentally navigating to the wrong website can result in disastrous consequences.  A user that incorrectly types in a domain name or haphazardly clicks on an embedded link in an email can launch a devastating ransomware attack that can bring down a single computer, an entire network, and even invade subsequent supply chains.  Internet filtering isn’t just about stopping users that are determined to get to inappropriate websites.  It is about stopping an accident or inadvertent action that could compromise the entire enterprise.

Cybersecurity protection today is achieved through a multi-layer approach to a security strategy.  Protecting users from malicious site content, malware and phishing attacks involves the DNS layer. Securing the DNS layer is essential because of its seamless integration with the internet.   The same layer that makes internet navigation possible, is the same layer that hackers are manipulating in order to implement their attacks.  Ignoring the DNS layer places all the burden on endpoint security mechanisms that can quickly become overwhelmed.  Below we have outlined the primary DNS attack categories that you need to protect against today.

Phishing

Email continues to be the primary delivery mechanism for malware, ransomware and cyber scams.  Most phishing attacks use the two most utilized components of your user environment, email and internet.  Cybercriminals continue to utilize phishing attacks because they are easy to implement, yet continue to successfully manipulate users.  One only needs a database of email addresses to cast out their massive nets to snag unsuspecting users into their trap.  In a similar fashion to bass or trout fishing, phishing depends on the right lure that will entice users to click an embedded link that connects to a website and downloads the malicious payload to the user’s desktop.  While most organizations have some sort of email filtering solution, it is nearly impossible to eliminate all phishing attempts.  That’s why it is essential to have an internet filtering solution that works in tandem with your email security solution in order to prevent any type of malicious web connection in the first place.

BEC Attacks

BEC attacks are a high stakes form of phishing also known as spear phishing.  BEC attacks are specifically involve identified high privilege users within a targeted organization.  BEC attacks are all about scoring a big payday.  Attackers often spend months trolling and monitoring the email traffic of a compromised system in order to learn its culture and communication protocols.  While BEC attacks don’t always involve the internet, an internet security system can be that one tool that prevents a loss that can easily involve tens of millions of dollars.

Malware

The battle against malware is no longer restricted to just endpoints.    You cannot place all of your trust in endpoint solutions anymore because experienced attackers have developed methodologies to skirt these small scale security tools.  You need to stop malware at the source.  Users can’t accidentally download malware if they are never allowed to connect to a download site.  Even in the event that a site hasn’t been properly identified, a modern day internet filtering solution should be able to scan traversing packets and scrub them of malicious code before they can infiltrate the user desktop.

Ransomware

While Ransomware is a type of malware, it now deserves its own category.  Many now consider it to be today’s #1 cybersecurity threat.  While phishing and BEC attacks are about scoring a quick scam, their losses involve only money.  Not so with ransomware.  Ransomware has brought down the mission critical operations for countless organizations both big and small.  By securing the DNS layer you are doing more than protecting your enterprise against cyber attacks.  You are protecting your organization against a potential devastating disruption to basic operations.

DoS Attacks

Denial of Service attacks (DoS) are a different breed of attack.  Like ransomware, the purpose of these attacks is to disrupt a company’s network operations in hopes to extort money.  The attacks involve an army of bots that work in coordination of one another.  Each bot sends miscellaneous traffic in an attempt to completely consume all available bandwidth.  These attacks often target online retailer or other businesses that greatly rely on their website infrastructure.  Though not as prevalent, attackers can also conduct DoS attacks within an enterprise’s internal network.  These attacks usually involve some type of malware that then uses available nodes to send trash packets. 

Typo-Squatting Attacks

Typo-squatting attacks are prime examples of snagging accidental website visits of an unsuspecting user.  Cybercriminals purchase domain names that have similar spellings to well known websites.  When a user accidentally mistypes a domain name in the web browser, they are then redirected to a fake login site that then captures their login credentials.  The hackers then use the compromised credentials to access the actual website itself and conduct their malicious deeds such as the withdrawal of financial funds or making unauthorized purchases.

Conclusion

In the same way that users today are depending on caller-ID services to sort out telemarketing and robocalls, DNS filtering solutions are the preferred way to eliminate web-based attacks.  Your users and mission critical operations depend on a safe internet experience.  As a result, an advanced DNS filtering solution such as WebTitan is a mandatory tool today. 

A multi-layered security approach is vital for all organizations to protect clients, employees and company data from DNS attacks. A combination of SpamTitan and WebTitan can make your organization bulletproof from advanced DNS attacks. Talk to a TitanHQ security expert today to learn how we can use a layered approach to protect your organization. Talk to a security expert.

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