DNS Tunneling: How To Protect Yourself For This Security Attack?

Digital expansion and interconnection is an intricate part of our modern lives. Back in 1995, only 1% of the globe was connected via the internet. Today that number stands at around 40%, and it is only set to increase. Homes, schools and companies are all becoming progressively reliant on network services. Being cut off from the internet is usually part of our worst nightmares.

An integral part of any network is its DNS. Where an IP address is a virtual signature that identifies your physical device, DNS is used to identify the domain of the host site. It acts as the name of a network and, provides identity for access, like a phonebook. Thus, effectively managing a network consists of implanting robust DNS security measures such that risk of breach is minimal.

Domain Name System
Domain Name System (DNS) is the most fundamental technology of networking. It is the oldest protocol and hence lacks security by design. Since the inception of the internet, DNS has remained the standard in information share and access online. However, since network administrators often neglect to tighten security around this protocol, it is a popular point for security breaches. Hackers exploit this vulnerability to siphon data off a network without a company’s knowledge. A popular method to do this is DNS Tunneling.

What is DNS Tunneling?
DNS tunneling is the capability of encoding data of programs or protocols in DNS queries. DNS tunneling was originally designed as an innovative way to bypass the problem of captive portals at the network edge. However, it soon became a popular method for data infiltration and ex-filtration.

The vulnerabilities of DNS lie in the query/reply nature. How this works is that each message contains a header and four sections of variable in length. Out of these, two sections - the names section and the UDP messages section - can be used to encode data. Traditional security measures fail to recognize this as a breach and the data is formatted as a query for data that is returned to a name server set up in advance by the hacker.

How to Implement Safety Measures?
Safeguarding against DNS-based attacks requires a level of security that is not often included with the general-purpose security tools. Thus while setting up network security, organizations must keep the following points in mind:
• The security software should be designed such that it can identify attacks via preconfigured toolkits as well as more sophisticated data ex filtration methods.
• The software should be able to blacklist addresses known to be used for data exfiltration. This list must be updated periodically.
• The system should be automated. Human monitoring of the network is less efficient and prone to errors. DNS protection software must deliver real-time analytics based on close monitoring of the network and examining DNS queries to detect abnormal patterns.
• DNS protection systems must be able to automatically terminate malicious queries and thwart the execution of malware contained in DNS communication. The result is the successful prevention of information theft and data exfiltration activities.

DNS protection is a challenge that can be properly addressed by current technology and available software. When implementing a network, businesses should analyze their security level and employ proper DNS and IP Address Management tools in order to safeguard their data from third party servers with nefarious intentions. By adopting adept tools and remaining vigilant, corporations can remain sure of their data’s safe status.