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DNS attack

(also DNS exploit)

DNS attack definition

A DNS attack is an exploit in which an attacker targets and exploits the Domain Name System and its infrastructure. There are various ways how DNS can be attacked. DNS poisoning and DNS reflection attacks are just a few examples. Since the DNS system is a crucial part of the internet infrastructure, it’s a massive issue for cybersecurity. By exploiting the internet infrastructure holes, DNS attacks can alter DNS records, redirect users to malicious websites, hijack domains, or manipulate DNS responses, leading to huge data breaches and compromised security networks.

See also: anti-malware, spyware, Smurf attack

Common types of Domain Name System attacks

New DNS attack models emerge daily as the attackers evolve and develop new tactics. Here are just a few common examples.

  • Domain Name System Highjacking: During this attack, the attacker compromises the DNS server to gain control over the target's DNS settings. These setting modifications can lead to sensitive information theft, traffic redirection to malicious servers, or even the conduction of phishing attacks.
  • Cache poisoning: Also known as DNS spoofing, cache poisoning attack targets DNS data manipulation to redirect victims to malicious websites. This happens by injecting fake information into the DNS resolver’s cache. The attacker can direct users to fraudulent websites or intercept network traffic.
  • NXDOMAIN Attacks: In these attacks, the attackers flood DNS servers with multiple requests of fake domains in order to crash the servers.
  • DNS Tunneling: The attackers encapsulate non-DNS traffic with multiple DNS packets to overrun and bypass network security. Setting up DNS as a covert channel, attackers grab data from a compromised network and create unauthorized channels for further communication.
  • Fast Flux DNS: During these attacks, the IP addresses associated with the domain name are changed dynamically. This domain name swap procedure makes tracking down malicious websites or the infrastructure difficult.
  • DNS DDoS: During these attacks target’s DNS infrastructure is bombarded with an enormous volume of malicious traffic, making it impossible to respond to legitimate DNS requests. This DNS resolution process disruption lets the attackers effectively block or make websites and services unavailable.