What is DNS Hijacking and how to prevent it?

The Domain Name System (DNS) is one of the essential components that make a Web site present on the Internet. Web applications and cloud services depend on it for high performance and online validity. A vulnerability in DNS (Hijacking DNS) can lead to loss of sensitive data, exploitation of web users, and website hijacking by attackers.

What is DNS Hijacking and how to prevent it?

Failure to monitor your domains for malicious activity is the basis for hackers to launch a variety of attacks on your DNS. In this article, we will discuss DNS intrusion in detail and how you can prevent it.

What is DNS Hijacking?

What is DNS Hijacking and how to prevent it

The Domain Name System (DNS) is a directory of domain names that are matched to their respective IP addresses. It’s like a phone book, where you store someone’s number and name and simply enter the name to retrieve their number.

Web browsers and devices interact with the internet through Internet Protocol (IP) addresses with numbers like 305.0.2.11. Domains like exmaple.com were created for websites. To avoid users remembering complicated IP addresses, DNS will synchronize the domain name with the appropriate IP address to allow users to access online resources through the domain name while the browser can still continue to access the Internet. Continue to use site-friendly IP addresses.

DNS hijacking, also known as DNS redirection (DNS redirection), is an activity where cybercriminals damage the resolving capabilities of domain name servers and redirect traffic to malicious domain name systems. It is common in the absence of suitable security methods to protect your web application.

Why do attackers hijack DNS?

What is DNS Hijacking and How to Prevent it

Attackers use DNS hijacking to do what we call Pharming. Here, hackers display unnecessary ads just to generate revenue on views and clicks. They also use it to redirect visitors to a cloned version of the current website and steal your data.

Interestingly, cybercriminals aren’t the only ones with DNS hijacking. Some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) use this technique to throttle users’ DNS requests to collect their data for business purposes.

Some resellers also perform a type of DNS hijacking to moderate some content or redirect visitors to an alternative website. This issue is controversial because it exposes users to XSS attacks on many sites.

How does DNS Hijacking attack work?

What is DNS Hijacking and How to Prevent 10

To perform a DNS attack, an attacker would have to take control of a router (Router, Modem, Firewall, etc.), break into DNS communication, or install malware on a person’s computer system. use.

While you may not be the one managing your DNS, the third-party company that does it for you could be hacked without your knowledge. If this happens, an attacker can hijack all your web traffic.

For example, let’s say you register your website with a domain registrar like example.com. The registrar allows you to choose an available domain name. The domain name sold to you will be registered with an IP address.

Your unique IP address is kept in DNS A records. A records point your domain name to your IP address. Your domain registrar’s name servers can be hacked at any time, especially if that company’s security isn’t too high. If the nameservers are compromised, attackers have the ability to change your unique IP address to another IP address. When your domain is fetched from DNS records, it will point to the attacker’s own server instead of yours.

Also, when someone enters your domain name in their browser, it takes them to the attacker’s website. When your visitors land on the attacker’s website, they will see a copy of your site. But what they don’t know, it is under the control of hackers, who can steal their login credentials and access their accounts.

Types of DNS Hijacking Attacks

What is DNS Hijacking and How to Prevent it

Internet users, web applications, and software all depend on DNS to function online. Attackers know this. So they look for security holes in DNS to launch attacks.

Cybercriminals use various techniques to gain unauthorized access to DNS. Common forms of attack include:

1. Local DNS Hijacking

To perform a local DNS intrusion, an attacker installs malware on the user’s computer and changes the local DNS settings. This will lead users to a fake website without their knowledge.

2. Hijacking DNS Router

A DNS router is a hardware device used by domain name service providers to match people’s domains with their respective IP addresses. Some routers struggle with firmware vulnerabilities and have weak default passwords. These flaws leave the router vulnerable to a network attack, where hackers can take over the router and reconfigure DNS settings.

The attacker redirects the visitor to a malicious website and blocks the main website from accessing the main website after they are sure to have succeeded in overriding the website’s DNS router.

3. DNS Hijacking man-in-the-middle

In a man-in-the-middle attack, cybercriminals insert themselves into the communication channel between the user and the DNS server to eavesdrop or change information.

Attackers modify DNS settings, enter their IP addresses, and redirect users to their malware-filled website.

4. DNS Server Attack

The attackers will attack the DNS servers and change the configuration of the targeted websites so that their IP addresses will be pointed to the malicious websites. When a user submits a request to the target website, they are redirected to a phishing site where they are vulnerable.

How to prevent DNS Hijacking

What is DNS Hijacking and How to Prevent it

As you work to increase traffic to your website, you must prioritize DNS security to ensure that any traffic counts.

Here are some ways to secure your web server from DNS attack.

1. Check Router’s DNS Settings

Routers are very vulnerable and attackers will take advantage of this weakness to exploit victims. To avoid danger, you need to verify and check your router’s DNS settings. You should also update its password regularly.

2. Implement Registry Lock in your domain account

Another way to prevent DNS hijacking is to use a registry key (Registry Lock) to combat cyber threats.

Registry Lock is a service provided by the domain registrar to protect domain names from unauthorized updates, transfers, and deletions. If your hosting provider doesn’t offer this service, you need to find one that offers it.

Make sure you enable two-factor authentication on your domain account as an extra layer of security. Tighten security even further by launching the Domain Name System Security (DNSSE) extension in your website’s control panel. It enhances DNS validation while preventing DNS redirects, man-in-the-middle attacks, and cache poisoning.

3. Install an anti-malware program

DNS intruders also target user credentials. Make sure you install anti-virus software on your computer to detect any malicious attempts by cybercriminals to steal your credentials. Use only secured virtual private networks to reduce the risk of your data being exposed.

To secure your logins even more, create strong passwords and change them often.

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