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Top 5 DNS Security Threats and How to Mitigate Them

Domain Name System (DNS) translates website names into their associated IP addresses. While it is fundamental for every internet user, hackers have malicious eyes to exploit the vulnerabilities of DNS. DNS attacks can disrupt an organization’s whole network or service, causing financial loss, reputational damage, and lost customer trust.

Due to budget limitations, small and medium businesses are more prone to DNS attacks, as they can not invest in highly sophisticated cybersecurity systems. However, you can secure your organization by boosting your DNS security. Here are 5 of the most dangerous DNS security threats and some preventive measures to protect organizations against these threats.

DNS Security Threats

DNS serves as the backbone of the internet by enabling the utilization of a domain name. Here are the most prominent DNS cases that put your system at huge risk.

DNS Tunneling

Domain Name System routes the network traffic using the method “DNS Tunneling”. This helps DNS create an additional path to transmit data. Cloud firewalls and Bypassing Network Filters are a few use cases of this technique.

This tunnel can be employed with malicious content by sending data through DNS requests. Hackers use this technique to spoof their content without being detected by firewalls or filters. It can also be used to create occluded channels to transmit information to a network that normally does not authorize the traffic.

DNS Spoofing

It is a most common DNS attack where users are directed to a fake website that looks exactly like a real one. The aim of this type of attack is to reroute traffic or steal users’ credentials.

When users log in to a fraudulent website, malicious actors can get all the data they enter into this website.

Moreover, the hackers send viruses into end users’ computers via DNS spoofing that gives long-term access to the threat actors, and they can steal all the data stored in the computer. As they can stay unidentified for a long time, they cause a significant loss of security and can initiate a series of cyberattacks.

DNS Flood Attack

DNS flood attacks utilize DNS protocol to carry out UDP (user datagram protocol) flood. Malicious actors send spoofed (but valid) DNS requests with intensely high packet rates and then build a huge group of IP addresses.

As the DNS request seems valid, the server responds to all the requests on the target network. Then, the DNS server receives a flood of requests, and the DNS server won’t have the resources to respond to all the requests. As a result, the targeted DNS infrastructure is disrupted until it is turned offline. It subsequently turns off the target user’s access to the internet.

DNS Amplification

This type of DNS attack benefits from the flaws of DNS servers, which amplifies the initial requests to bigger payloads and is then used to overtake the target’s server. typically, it performs a DDoS attack on the DNS server. It involves exploiting the publicly open DNS system and overwhelming the target with many DNS response requests.

Threat actors send lookup requests to a public DNS server and spoof the source address with the target address. When the DNS server returns to the DNS response, it is passed on to the target-controlled by the hacker.


This DDoS attack overwhelms the server with unlimited invalid requests with non-existent records. The DNS proxy server then consumes all of its resources in checking the authority of requests using the DNS authoritative server.

Both these servers spend all the time dealing with bad requests, which slows down the request time for legitimate requests and eventually stops.

DNS Threat Protection Measures

Though there are diverse ways used by threat actors to halt the DNS server, with few preventive measures, you can avoid such attacks.

Use a Dedicated DNS server

The best way to prevent DNS attack risks is to use a dedicated DNS server that only handles DNS queries. This will avoid the chances of becoming a victim of cyberattacks or other lateral movements of threat actors. You should turn off all unnecessary ports, close unwanted OS services, and only allow mandatory basic DNS services.

Configure DNS security features

DNS offers plenty of security features, so you need to configure them accurately. For instance, hide the Bind version and restrict Zone Transfers to secure your zone. Moreover, you should disable DNS recursion to prevent cache-poisoning attacks.

Use a Reliable VPN

A reliable security solution like NordVPN can effectively secure your network from DNS attacks. It incorporates SaaS security in your business infrastructure, prevents malware attacks with in-built antivirus capabilities, and delivers threat reporting and many other security solutions to ensure secure remote access.

SASE is an effective DNS layer security, that’s why Nordlayer incorporates SASE into your organization network and helps eliminate the risks of cyberattacks.

Maintain DNS server

Outdated software attracts threat actors, so you must upgrade your system and apply security patches. Moreover, audit your DNS server, including all running zones, IPs, and public records.

Final Words

DNS attacks are a significant danger to businesses’ reputations and finances. The attacks range from sending spoof requests to turning off the DNS servers and can lead to long-term data breaching by installing viruses in the end user’s computer.

Therefore, organizations need to incorporate a dedicated DNS system and a multifaceted security solution using network security, such as Nordlayer, to avoid becoming a victim of cyberattacks.