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Report: 78% cyber pros expect increase in DNS threats

December 11, 2020

Neustar, a global information services and technology company, has released a report from the Neustar International Security Council (NISC) which explores the rise in DNS security threats over the Christmas period.

With more people shopping online than ever before amid the pandemic, 78 per cent of cybersecurity professionals said they expect to see an increase in DNS-related security threats over the next month. To prepare their organisations for this upcoming surge, three in five (59 per cent) have altered their DNS security methods in the run up to the holiday season.

Despite these preparations, however, over a quarter (29 per cent) admitted to having reservations around their ability to respond to DNS attacks, which can be largely attributed to the shifting and complex DNS threat landscape. Out of the range of DNS threats that exist today, the cybersecurity community ranked domain hijacking (41 per cent) as their top concern and the attack they are most likely to fall victim to, followed by DNS spoofing/cache poisoning (28 per cent), DNS tunneling (16 per cent) and zombie domain attacks (15 per cent). In fact, three in five respondents confessed to being hit by one of these threats in the past year.

“Acting as the Internet’s address book and backbone of today’s digital services, it’s unsurprising that DNS is an increasingly appealing vector for malicious actors, particularly as more consumers turn to websites during peak online shopping periods,” said Rodney Joffe, Chairman of NISC, SVP and Fellow, Neustar. “When successful, DNS attacks can have damaging repercussions to an organisation’s online presence, brand and reputation. A domain hijacking attack, for example, can result in hackers taking control of a company’s domain and using it to host malware or launch phishing campaigns that evade spam filters and other reputational protections. In a worst-case scenario, this type of attack can even lead to an organisation losing its domain altogether.”

“While organisations are aware of the severity of DNS attacks, it’s important that they continue to take proactive steps to protect themselves and their customers against the different threats,” Joffe continued. “This should involve regular DNS audits and constant monitoring to ensure a thorough understanding of all DNS traffic and activity. Crucially, DNS data can also provide organisations with timely, actionable and important threat insights, allowing them to not only protect against DNS-related threats, but also mitigate the vast majority of malware, viruses and suspicious content before critical systems are infiltrated.”

Findings from the latest NISC research highlighted a 13.6-point year-on-year increase in the International Cyber Benchmarks Index. Calculated based on the changing level of threats and impact of cyberattacks, the index has maintained an upward trend since May 2017.

During September and October 2020, DDoS (22 per cent) was ranked as the greatest concern for security professionals, followed by system compromise (19 per cent) and ransomware (17 per cent). During this period, organisations have focused most on increasing their ability to respond to vendor or customer impersonation (58 per cent), targeted hacking (54 per cent), IP address hacking (52 per cent).

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