Skip to content

Four Major DNS Attack Types and How to Mitigate Them

Four Major DNS Attack Types and How to Mitigate Them

DNS stands for “Domain Name Server,” and it serves as the foundation of the modern internet. They developed this as a system to convert alphabetical names into IP addresses, which let you access a website or exchange an email. Developers organized the DNS into a tree-like infrastructure where the first level deals with .com or .org, and the second level deals with traditional and general domain names. During a DNS attack, cybercriminals will take advantage of weaknesses in your DNS, targeting the stability or availability of the network. You have four major DNS attacks that we will cover here.

Type #1: DoS Attacks

This cyberattack, also known as “Denial of Service,” will make a computer or device unavailable to anyone who wishes to use it. Most cybercriminals will overwhelm the machine with requests until it can no longer process the regular level of traffic. Their ultimate goal with a DoS attack is to put a service out of commission.

Some hackers will launch a DoS attack in anger at a company or organization over undesirable political, economic, geopolitical or monetary behavior. They slow down legitimate requests, and in some cases, a DoS attack will render a website totally unusable.

Most IT experts recommend that you deal with DoS attacks by rerouting your traffic through a firewall or add a device firewall to block attacks. You might apply a stronger rate limit to servers, resources and firewalls to stop an attack. You might add network security products like a network intrusion detection system or an intrusion prevention system.

Type #2: DDoS Attacks

Using a DDoS attack, hackers will attempt to disrupt the normal level of traffic on a targeted server. Again, they will try to make the website either unavailable temporarily or they will try to keep it unavailable indefinitely. They do this by flooding the server with traffic to prevent people from accessing online sites and services.

When a DDoS attack happens, it can lead to an angry customer base, brand damage and lost revenue. Your productivity can grind to a screeching halt with a DDoS attack because your most critical business applications and operations will stop working.

DDoS attacks are illegal and can result in a 10-year federal prison sentence under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. In some cases, hackers will use DDoS attacks for blackmail or extortion. For example, the hacker may demand the business owner pays an extortion fee to keep their business running.

You can stop DDoS attacks in several ways, but one of the fastest ways is to call in IT experts like PCH Technologies to handle the issue. The methods to prevent an attack include multi-layered DDoS protection, early detection and packet profile, and reducing the DDoS attack surface.

Type #3: DNS Cache Poisoning

They also call this DNS spoofing, and it happens when a hacker places false information in a DNS resolver cache. The hacker will manipulate a known weakness in the system to reroute the traffic over to a fake version of a website. Once on the website, they can steal private user data or cause corruption.

To help you understand how pervasive this problem is, over 72 percent of organizations reported how they experienced DNS spoofing within the last year, based on information from Neustar International Security Council. Many of the businesses targeted will suffer multiple attacks because hackers love to hit easy targets.

Attackers like to use DNS cache poisoning to phish for passwords and sensitive information. Unfortunately, you may struggle to detect a DNS cache poisoning because it can be difficult to detect. Let’s take an example of a successful DNS spoofing that happened in 2008. The attack happened on MyEtherWallet, and they redirected users away from that site over to one that looked the same. When this had finished, the hacker stole over $150,000 in cryptocurrencies. The hijacking of this DNS lasted for two hours before anyone noticed it.

You can use several tools and processes to prevent DNS spoofing, to begin with. For example, you can install DNS spoof detection tools and security protocols to stop it from happening. You can also spot it through a sudden and unexplainable drop in traffic.

#4: DNS Tunneling Attack

When a DNS tunneling attack happens, hackers will exploit the DNS protocol to tunnel malware and other data using the client-server model. An example would be if a hacker sets up a domain name where the server points to the attacker’s server. This is where he will install the tunneling malware program.

Ultimately, the hacker receives a remote and covert command-and-control channel. This system is established to bypass firewalls, filters and packet capture software. Again, this attack is difficult to detect without the right technology because the hacker sneaks past your security.

They can use this to control a remote server and its applications. The typical abuse cases that the hacker will do from this attack include data exfiltration, command and control, and IP-over-DNS tunneling. Most DNS tunneling attacks happen through the external network connectivity on a compromised system.

Some of the most common ways to prevent DNS tunneling attacks include using a DNS filtering system to sift through your DNS requests. DNS tunneling attacks rely on DNS queries to form a malicious association with the hacker’s computer, so without that ability, they can’t perform DNS tunneling.


This highlights the four major DNS attack types and what you can do to stop it from happening. The best policy to stop hackers from taking over your DNS is to hire a managed IT company like PCH Technologies. They will take action for you to stop hackers from getting access to your business. Proactive measures work better than damage control after the fact. Businesses lost an average of $4.35 million in 2022 from data breaches. Cyber attacks have been on the rise, so it’s essential to know how to protect your business. To protect your business, call PCH Technologies today at (856) 754-7500.