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The Threat of DNS Hijacking: Detection and Prevention Strategies

The Threat of DNS Hijacking: Detection and Prevention Strategies

Published On

8 min read

DNS hijacking constitutes a type of cyberattack that can cause significant damage to individuals and organizations. A DNS (also known as Domain Name System) hijacking attack redirects traffic to a malicious website through access to DNS records and settings. Consequently, sensitive information may be stolen, malware installed, and financial losses may occur.

Businesses can minimize the attack in the first stage by choosing a website hosting service provider. They can help you provide a dominating hosting solution that prioritizes security and prevents attacks. However, a poor hosting solution can open doors for DNS hijacking, which ultimately puts businesses in trouble.

Keep reading as we will cover everything about DNS hijacking and ways to prevent the attacks.

What is DNS Hijacking?

Domain Name Systems (DNS) are directories of domain names corresponding to IP addresses. Essentially, DNS functions as a phone book, where you store someone’s phone number alongside their name so you can retrieve only their number by typing it.

Devices and browsers connect to the internet using Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, such as 305.0.21.11. Domain names, such as example.com identify websites. Keeping in mind that IP addresses are complex for users to remember, DNS associates domain names with IP addresses, which allows users to use domain names to access resources online, with browsers using machine-friendly IP addresses as needed.

The DNS hijacking practice is also known as DNS redirection, and it occurs when cybercriminals corrupt the DNS resolution process to redirect traffic away from a trusted domain server into an unauthorized one.

4 Types of DNS Hijacking Attacks

The DNS is essential for all users, web applications, and programs who want to access the Internet. This is already known to attackers. So, they launch an attack on DNS by exploiting security loopholes.

Cybercriminals use various techniques to crack the DNS. Here are some common attacks:

  1. Local DNS Hijacking

An attacker executes a local DNS hijacking by installing malware on a computer and modifying the DNS settings locally. The user is then redirected to a malicious website without awareness.

  1. DNS Router Hijacking

The DNS router matches domain names with IP addresses for domain service providers. Several routers have firmware vulnerabilities and weak default passwords. In addition to these flaws, hackers can use these flaws to hijack the router and change the DNS settings.

By overwriting the DNS router, an attacker can block access to the target website and redirect visitors to a malicious website.

  1. Man-in-the-Middle DNS Hijacking

Cybercriminals use man-in-the-middle attacks to gather information from users or modify their messages.

A malware-laden website is accessed by inserting the attacker’s IP address into DNS settings and redirecting users to the site.

  1. Rogue DNS Server Hijacking

A hacker provides access to the DNS servers and changes the configuration of a targeted website so that its IP address is redirected to a malicious site. This may result in an attack when users are directed to a fraudulent website after sending a request to the actual website.

5 Ways to Prevent DNS Hijacking

Often, DNS hijackers succeed because many organizations don’t take sufficient precautions or cannot detect them. Thus, many DNS users fail to stay on top of their DNS traffic for suspicious activity. However, you can take steps to mitigate the risk of DNS hijacking by taking some precautions. The following steps should be kept in mind:

  1. Set up a firewall to protect real resolvers

DNS resolvers send queries to and from DNS servers. A fake resolver, which redirects traffic to a fake website, can be used to hijack DNS. Thus, it is imperative that your legitimate resolvers be protected by firewalls, preventing external access.

It is always a good idea to monitor resolvers carefully and terminate unnecessary ones as soon as possible.

  1. Choose a reliable hosting provider.

Choosing the right hosting provider is underrated but important in preventing your website from threats like DNS hijacking. They use industry-leading security measures to keep your website safe from cyberattacks, keeping your business going.

With a wordpress hosting company like WeWP, you gain the advantage of enjoying high-class security on your website, preventing it from cyber-attacks.

  1. Provide staff with security best practices training

To prevent DNS hijacking, everyone in your organization must know what they are supposed to do (and what not to do).

Fortunately, most of these best practices are consistent with standard cybersecurity best practices. Here are some worth noting cybersecurity best practices: 

  • Make sure you don’t click on links from outside your organization or links in emails you receive
  • It is always a good idea to verify an email if you are unsure
  • Sharing sensitive information or login credentials over public Wi-Fi networks is prohibited
  • Look for suspicious URL details (valid SSL certificates should be present).
  • Virtual private networks (VPNs) should be used with reliability
  • Make sure that your company employs a robust password management policy that promotes strong passwords as well as regular password changes

  1. Limit name server access

Keeping your name servers as secure as possible is crucial for protecting DNS information. Implement multifactor authentication and install a strong firewall to keep your network secure. A resolver and authoritative name servers must be separated to prevent an attack on one from affecting the other.

  1. Fix known vulnerabilities immediately

Whenever a DNS server is vulnerable, hackers are looking for the easiest targets. Take a few simple steps to deter and defend yourself from these attacks. Patch management is an important part of maintaining good security within your organization.

Also Read : The Risks of Lacking Security Measures in WordPress Hosting

How Choosing a Reliable Web Hosting Provider can Help in Addressing DNS Hijacking?

Domain name system (DNS) hijacking can harm websites by compromising data, allowing unauthorized access, and affecting reputations. However, choosing a dependable web host is essential for mitigating such risks. Here is how:

  • Strong DNS Infrastructure: A reliable web hosting provider invests in a robust DNS infrastructure with advanced security features. To mitigate hijacking attempts, DNSSEC (Domain Name System Security Extensions) can verify the authenticity of DNS records.
  • Up-to-date Security: Reputable hosting providers update their systems with the most recent security patches. The proactive approach helps prevent attackers from exploiting vulnerabilities in DNS hijacking attempts.
  • Mitigation of DDoS attacks: Attacks involving Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) often occur in conjunction with DNS hijacking attempts to disrupt website availability. If your hosting provider employs effective DDoS mitigation measures, it can prevent or minimize such attacks, preventing interruptions to your website.
  • Detection and Response: An experienced hosting company employs powerful monitoring tools to monitor unusual DNS activity. This allows them to detect hijacking quickly, prevent further damage, and quickly restore normal operations.
  • Security Authentication Practices: Strong password policies and multifactor authentication (MFA) protect DNS management interfaces from unauthorized access. WordPress hosting providers with a good standing capable of enforcing security measures rigorously.

Also Read : Why Domains Get Suspended and How to Restore Them?

Conclusion

DNS hijacking is a reality for many websites worldwide today. Numerous enterprise-level businesses have faced DNS hijacking attacks by cybercriminals for different reasons.

Implement the right security strategies and choose a reliable hosting provider with active support. At WeWP, we are your best Web hosting provider company, always ready to meet your hosting needs. Our wide range of hosting services is set to fit your hosting requirements without compromising on budget.

We have the best support team ready to assist you with any concerns regarding secure wordpress hosting solutions. Contact us today to choose the best hosting solutions catering to your website hosting needs.

FAQs

For DNS hijacking prevention, you should use antivirus software to detect and remove malware infections, use strong passwords and firewalls to secure your DNS server, and avoid suspicious emails or links that might trick you into divulging sensitive information. A VPN or a trusted DNS resolver service can also help ensure secure browsing.

A DNS hijacking can cause various problems, ranging from minor inconveniences, such as being redirected to an unsuitable website, to more serious issues like identity theft, financial losses, and the theft of sensitive information. It can also launch other types of cyberattacks, including ransomware campaigns and malware attacks.

If your DNS is compromised, it is crucial to act quickly to minimize the damage. To begin, scan your system for malware to identify any infections responsible for the issue. Make sure that your DNS settings have not been changed without your consent. You can even contact your hosting provider for help. Lastly, change your passwords and watch for suspicious activity on your accounts.

There are various methods available to prevent DNS hijacking. Users should avoid clicking on suspicious links or visiting sites with many pop-ups. VPNs are recommended, along with good antivirus software, changing the router’s password and changing the router’s username.

DNS hijacking can have serious consequences. Attackers can use fake websites to steal credit card numbers or login credentials. Also, hijacked DNS servers can conduct attacks (such as phishing and malware downloads).

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