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What Is DNS Protection?

DNS Protection Meaning

Domain Name System (DNS) protection adds another layer of security between your employees and the internet. It filters out unwanted traffic and adds suspicious Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) to a blacklist. Teams can protect themselves from dangers and malicious attacks by using protected DNS servers for both local and remote PCs, a strategy that is particularly useful if you employ a remote workforce.

To better understand DNS protection, you first have to know how DNS attackers work. Hackers alter the DNS information of a website so it points to their server rather than the authorized web server. They then launch a phishing attack, steal data, or even introduce malware onto the victim's computer.

The primary goal of a DNS security system is to protect web-based users from the fraudulent DNS information hackers use to execute attacks. To do this, the system verifies digital signatures built into the data being sent. These signatures confirm the identity of the computer sending the transmission. In this way, users can verify that the source of any DNS entry they receive is accurate.

Threat actors can quickly find security gaps on a website that is not DNS-protected, then reroute or hijack your domain name for their own gain. As such, it is important to understand how DNS is used in attacks and why using unprotected systems can result in employees and others visiting malicious websites.

How Does DNS Protection Work?

By blocking harmful websites and screening undesired content, DNS protection adds another layer of security between a user and the internet. Employees can reduce unnecessary risks and the possibility of malicious attacks by using secure DNS servers at both their home and workplace. Securing these environments protect not just their work computers but also any device connecting to the networks.

Every DNS request is sent through a DNS resolver that has been configured to examine requests. If the resolver recognizes a suspicious domain, it refuses to resolve the query, which prevents visitors from visiting the site.

How Block Lists and Allow Lists Support DNS Protection

DNS resolvers use a block list to decide whether a user or domain name is suspicious. If a domain name appears on this list, the DNS resolver will block the website. Otherwise, it approves the domain name's request to enable access to the website.

Domain filtering services block all other domains while allowing only those named in an allow list. DNS filtering on your network can stop dangerous traffic by analyzing all incoming and outgoing internet transmissions and examining the requested web page and the Internet Protocol (IP) address making the request. The request will be filtered based on several criteria, including data gathered from known phishing schemes, harmful websites, and websites with inappropriate content. Using this information, the filtering service will block those that appear dangerous or suspicious.

5 DNS Protection Capabilities to Enhance Enterprise Security

Here are five different functions involved in DNS protection and how they improve enterprise security:

1. Phishing and Malware Protection

Phishing and malware protection block access to websites that may contain harmful or potentially harmful information, such as malware and scams. Employees may not recognize a phishing attempt, which can endanger your systems. 

Blocking access, in and of itself, can be insufficient against complex attacks that send requests from seemingly harmless sites or IP addresses. Therefore, using content filtering technology and teaching employees about phishing and malware can help your organization avoid these kinds of attacks.

2. Botnet Protection

Botnets are quickly evolving into dangerous threats, and DNS protection prevents communication with botnet servers. This prevents botnet servers from hijacking your Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices and then using them to execute botnet attacks.

3. Content Filtering

Content filtering restricts undesirable content, including adult websites and those known to contain malware. Because content filtering systems operate within the DNS, IT teams do not need to buy and install software on each computer or device, reducing the likelihood that employees will visit malicious sites.

4. Ad Blocking

Ad blocking is a content filtering system feature that prevents ads from being displayed if they contain harmful software, including software designed to collect sensitive data from employees. Most advertisements have no malicious intent, but they can negatively impact system performance by bogging down processors. They also affect staff productivity because they force employees to wrangle with incessant, irritating ads.

5. Typo Correction

Threat actors are evolving and using crafty tactics like buying “typo names” of legitimate companies' domains. When a user visits a site with a typo URL and enters their login credentials, hackers can either install malicious software or steal sensitive data. In some cases, all the hacker wants is the login information itself. However, DNS protection can correct misspelled domain names, like "g00gle.com" to "google.com."

DNS Protection to enhance enterprise security

Why is DNS Protection Important for Business Networks?

Both public and private networks can benefit from DNS protection. This means protection not only for your internal networks but also for the systems you offer to customers. Safeguarding home networks is similarly critical, since the lines have blurred between employees’ personal and business lives. Additionally, DNS protection can enhance bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies by protecting data both inside and outside of the company.

Can DNS Protection Prevent Cyber Threats?

By paying attention to DNS security, many online risks can be avoided. Top examples include:

  1. Cache or DNS poisoning: This involves changing a valid IP address in a DNS server's cache to divert traffic to a malicious website. As a result, malware gets installed, and user credentials and data are stolen.
  2. Denial-of-service (DoS) and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks: It is possible to thwart DoS and DDoS attacks with a reliable DNS protection solution. These types of cyberattacks are intended to interfere with the accessibility of websites or web services.
  3. Zero-day attacks: Zero-day attacks are new to the threat landscape and have not been logged in a threat intelligence database. DNS protection solutions can flag sites that have been used to launch other attacks in the past. So even if a newly launched malware strain cannot be detected, the DNS protection system likely already has the site it is coming from on a block list—meaning, any zero-day attack from that site will fail.
  4. DNS amplification: With DNS amplification, attackers exploit a DNS server that permits recursive lookups to spread the attack to additional DNS servers. Hackers take advantage of a DNS server that is incorrectly configured and then use it to launch a massive DDoS assault.
  5. Fast-flux DNS: This DNS attack tactic does not damage an enterprise. It mostly hides botnets used to commit cyber crime. Fast fluxing works by quickly changing out IP addresses associated with a single domain name. These rapid switches enable an attacker to use the same domain name to send users to many different fake or malicious sites.

Although the DNS is a common attack surface, it also serves as a strategic location for effective cybersecurity. Therefore, putting the appropriate DNS security procedures in place can significantly enhance an organization's cybersecurity posture.

Why Should an Enterprise Use DNS-level Protection?

Cyberattacks via the DNS plague individuals and companies all around the world. By exploiting the DNS, hackers can initiate destructive campaigns using a range of attacks, such as ransomware and phishing. Attackers may also try to breach your company’s network to steal information, hijack user accounts, or demand money from your employees. But with DNS-level protection, you can stop them from gaining a foothold.

How Fortinet Can Help?

The FortiDDoS protection solution inspects your DNS traffic in real time. In this way, you protect your organization from a variety of DNS-based attacks. This includes DoS and DDoS attacks, phishing campaigns that use fake sites, domain spoofing, and more.

FAQs

What is DNS protection?

Domain Name System (DNS) protection adds another layer of security between your employees and the internet. It filters out unwanted traffic and adds suspicious Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) to a blacklist.

Why is DNS protection important?

By exploiting the DNS, attackers can initiate destructive campaigns using a range of attacks, such as ransomware and phishing. Attackers may also try to breach your company’s network to steal information, hijack user accounts, or demand money from your employees. But with DNS-level protection, you can stop them from gaining a foothold.