Top 10 DNS Attack Types and How to Prevent an Attack

Top 10 DNS Attack Types and How to Prevent an Attack. In this post, we have covered ten kinds of DNS attacks along with the steps to prevent the attacks.

Do you have protection against DNS attacks?

Originally DNS was designed to respond to queries efficiently and correctly, not to question their intent. Thus, DNS is susceptible to cyberattacks and has real vulnerabilities.

The DNS attack occurs when a bad actor either compromises a network’s DNS or uses it to conduct a broader attack. A well crafted DNS attack can cause an organization to collapse.

Let’s continue reading the Top 10 DNS Attack Types and How to Prevent an Attack.

Top 10 DNS Attack Types and How to Prevent an Attack

1. DNS Cache Poisoning Attack

Cache poisoning is one of the most common attacks that aims to direct users to scam websites. For example, users accessing through their web browsers to check their emails. In addition, DNS server is also being poisoned where not only the page is exposed but also a scam page which is set up by the attackers, for example, for reclaiming the access to email box. Therefore, when users access the correct domain, they won’t realize that the website they are viewing is not a real but a scam website.

As a result, cybercriminals have an opportunity to take advantage of phishing techniques to steal identification and credit card information. This attack can have devastating effects depending on several factors like the impact of DNS poisoning, the attacker’s purpose, etc.

How to Prevent?

Several methods are available to prevent or solve this attack. For beginners, configure the DNS servers so they don’t rely heavily on trust relationships with other DNS servers. By doing so, attackers will have a harder time debasing their targets’ DNS servers. You can also prevent cache poisoning attacks by configuring DNS name servers to do the following:

  • Restrict or limit recursive queries.
  • Store only data related to the domain requested.
  • Only return domain specific information in response to a query.

In addition to this, organizations can also use cache poisoning tools to prevent outbreaks of cache poisoning.

2. Distributed Reflection Denial of Service (DRDoS)

Distributed reflective denial of service (DRDoS) attacks aim to disrupt the availability of a particular asset by sending an overwhelming number of UDP acknowledgments. In some instances, an attacker may send DNS, NTP, etc. using a spoofed source IP.

Using the parodied source IP, they can transfer a more comprehensive acknowledgment to the host, which continues to operate under the forged address. Due to its lack of connection state, UDP is one of the best choices for this type of attack.

How to Prevent?

DDoS attacks are more difficult to respond to when they are underway, so organizations should prepare for them in advance. You can’t stop DDoS attacks, however, there are methods to make it difficult for an attacker to disrupt a network. Using the steps below, you can scatter organizational assets so that an attacker cannot perform a single deep target.

  • To begin with, distribute the servers among different data centers.
  • Ensure that you have multiple networks connecting your data centers.
  • Make sure that there are several paths leading to the data centers.
  • Ensure there are no single points of failure or important security holes in data centers or connected networks.
  • In organizations that rely on internet ports and servers, it is crucial to have devices distributed geographically and not located in a single data center.

Moreover, if the resources have already been geographically distributed, then it is necessary to verify that data stations have more than one channel to the internet and make sure that not every data station is connected to the same internet service provider.

3. DNS Hijacking

DNS hijacking involves redirecting to a questionable DNS (Domain Name System) by an individual. However, attackers also accomplish this by installing malicious software or altering the server without authorization.

In addition, the individual has control over DNS; they can direct others to a page that appears identical but contains some extra content, such as advertisements. Moreover, they may direct users to malicious pages or search engines.

How to Prevent?

DNS name servers are compassionate foundations that need protection due to the possibility of them being hijacked and abused by hackers to produce DDoS attacks on others. We have listed here some prevention measures for DNS hijacking.

The DNS name server serves as a compassionate foundation that requires a certain level of protection, mainly due to the possibility of it being hijacked and utilized by many hackers to raise DDoS attacks upon others so we’ve listed some ways of preventing DNS hijacking here.

  • Check your network for resolvers.
  • Protect a name server by restricting access.
  • Take measures to prevent cache poisoning.
  • Patch the known vulnerabilities instantly.
  • Ensure that the authoritative name server is separate from the resolver.
  • Avoid zone alterations.

4. Phantom Domain Attack

The attacks on phantom domains are similar to those on casual subdomains. In this type of attack, an attacker tries to exploit your DNS resolver and use up the available resources. We refer to this as “phantom” domains, since phantom domains do not respond to queries.

An attack of this nature is aim primarily to make the DNS resolver server wait for the answer for an extended period of time. Thus, ultimately resulting in DNS performance issues or failures.

How to Prevent?

An evaluation of your log messages can help you detect phantom domain attacks. Additionally, you can mitigate this attack by following the steps below.

  • Adding more recursive clients is the first step.
  • Ensure that recursive queries are restricted per server and recursive inquiries are restricted per zone.
  • Allow holding down the server for non responsive requests.
  • Monitor recursive queries by zone.

5. TCP SYN Floods

SYN Floods are types of Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks that target any internet related operations using the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP).

SYN waves are types of TCP State Exhaustion attacks that attempt to utilize the tables of connection elements available in common infrastructure elements. Some examples are IPS (Intrusion Prevention System), firewalls, load balancers, and the utilization server itself. Hence, this attack can bring down the high capacity devices capable to manage millions of links. In addition, a TCP SYN flood attack destroys a target by flooding it with SYN questions, so it cannot respond to real connection requests.

How to Prevent?

Therefore, IPS and firewalls are necessary for network security, but they aren’t sufficient for protecting against complex DDoS attacks. As attacks become more sophisticated, users need a multifaceted program that examines more than just internet foundations and the availability of networks.

With these capabilities, you can effectively mitigate TCP SYN flood attacks and provide more powerful DDoS security.

  • To avoid a single point of failure on the network, it is first necessary to provide appropriate support for both inline and out of band deployment.
  • Today’s sophisticated attack methodologies require a multifaceted program that considers more than just the foundation of the internet and the availability of the network.
  • Broad network coverage as well as the capability of examining traffic from different parts of the network.
  • A variety of threat intelligence sources, including custom entrance alerts, data driven exception detection, and identifying known threats with fingerprints, ensuring rapid and accurate detection.

6. Random Subdomain Attack

This type of DNS attack does not occur very often, but it does happen on some networks from time to time. Since the goal of the random subdomain attacks is the same as the simple DoS attacks, often it is identified as DoS attacks.

This attack aims to create a DoS that will affect the authorized DNS server by which the primary domain name is received, thereby interrupting DNS record queries.

The attack is difficult to identify since the queries are sent by infected users who are not even aware that they are submitting certain types of queries originating from legitimate users.

How to Prevent?

The method below only takes 30 minutes to prevent a random subdomain attack.

  • To begin with, you will need to learn how to mitigate the attacks that result in a large amount of traffic on the resolvers and web resources that are links to victims, which can be take down.
  • Secondly, learn about Response Rate Limiting, a modern capability that preserves DNS experts who provoke attacks.

7. DNS tunnelling

This cyber attack encrypts data from multiple applications and transmits it inside DNS acknowledgments.

Initially, this system was not design to attack multitudes, but rather to bypass interface controls. However, attackers are using it mostly for remote attacks.

A DNS tunnelling attack requires access to an established system, along with a domain name, DNS authoritative server, and internal DNS server.

How to Prevent?

Here are three steps to mitigate such attacks by configuring a firewall to detect DNS tunnelling and block it.

  • Set up an access rule.
  • Make a protocol object.
  • Develop an application rule.

8. DNS Flood Attack

It’s one of the most common types of DNS attacks, in this type of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack the intruder attacks your DNS servers.

This kind of DNS flood has the primary intent of completely overloading your server making it unable to serve DNS requests because resource records are influenced by all treated DNS zones.

The fact that these types of attacks usually originate from a single IP address, so they are easy to mitigate. However, when it turns to DDoS attacks that involve hundreds or thousands of gatherings, it can become more complex. Often, many legitimate questions are interpreted as malicious bugs, hence making it difficult to mitigate the problem.

How to Prevent?

It has become easier for DDoS attacks to target Domain Name Systems (DNS). The DNS becomes unreachable when under a DDoS flood attack, ultimately resulting in the non availability of domain names.

  • Make sure your DNS resolver is private – Ensure that external users cannot access your resolver. To prevent external cybercriminals from contaminating its cache, restrict its use to internal network users only.
  • Take advantage of DDoS mitigation services – You can stop DNS DDoS flooding by using a trusted third-party DDoS mitigation service. It may help keep your DNS services accessible by stopping unwanted traffic.
  • Put a patch management system in place – Protect name servers from known vulnerabilities by keeping them updated and patched.
  • Invest in a dedicated DNS server – By hosting DNS together with application servers, small organizations are more likely to be attacked by DNS flood DDoS attacks. The best way to manage DNS is to use a dedicated server.
  • Perform DNS audits – Outdated subdomains are often forgotten over time. Using old or vulnerable software can leave your system vulnerable. You can identify DNS vulnerabilities by regularly auditing DNS zones.

9. Domain Hijacking

It involves setting up your domain registrar and DNS servers in a way that is able to redirect traffic from your actual servers to new ones. Many determinants go into domain hijacking, including exploiting registrar vulnerabilities, gaining control of DNS records, and exploiting vulnerabilities in the registrar’s system.

The attacker uses the hijacked domain name to launch malicious activities, such as installing a fake Visa, PayPal, or bank system. In these attacks, attackers replicate the real website to read information such as user names, passwords, and email addresses.

How to Prevent?

The following steps will help you mitigate the domain hijacking.

  • Secure access.
  • Use DNSSEC.
  • Client side lock.

10. Botnet based Attacks

This is a collection of Internet connected devices that attackers use to launch distributed DDoS attacks, that steal data, send spam, and allow attackers to gain access to devices.

Botnets are both attacks and tools for future attacks. They represent a diverse set of evolving threats that will continue to evolve as new technologies and digital devices become more common.

How to Prevent?

Here is how you can mitigate this type of attack:

  • Start by understanding your vulnerabilities.
  • Next, ensure that the IoT devices are secure.
  • Distinguish between your mitigation myths and facts.
  • Identify, categorize, and control.

Thank you for reading Top 10 DNS Attack Types and How to Prevent an Attack. Let’s conclude.

Top 10 DNS Attack Types and How to Prevent an Attack Conclusion

In this guide, I have explained all possible DNS attack types and provides tips to prevent from this kind of attack. The DNS service is crucial to keeping your business websites and online services up and running. You can use the above preventive methods if you want to evade these types of DNS attacks.

Take a look at more DNS content here.

Avatar for Hitesh Jethva
Hitesh Jethva

I am a fan of open source technology and have more than 10 years of experience working with Linux and Open Source technologies. I am one of the Linux technical writers for Cloud Infrastructure Services.

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