​What does a DNS outage mean?

A DNS outage can ruin your day. Let’s think it’s the peak season for selling your business stuff. You already bought the big stock for selling, invested in Marketing to attract clients, enhanced the overall performance of your site, etc. And suddenly, the DNS is not responding. Clients can’t access your website. That’s tragic, isn’t it?

What does a DNS outage mean?

Domain Name System (DNS) outage means the time that the DNS is not available and, therefore, your domain. Without DNS working normally, your domain can’t be resolved to its associated IP address. Recursive servers won’t be able to do their job. When they ask the authoritative nameserver for the IP address, there won’t be an answer. If they try to search for it in its cache, the possibilities are high for it to be already expired (TTL), so it won’t work.

DNS outage is also called DNS downtime.

Common causes of DNS outages.

  • Human errors. Configuring DNS is a very delicate matter. A single typo can cause DNS downtime.
  • Maintenance routines. The normal maintenance required by authoritative nameservers can stop the DNS. Think about an update or a reboot. These common and needed actions for sure will stop (for a while) the capability of the name server to answer the DNS requests.
  • Lack of redundancy. It’s not rare to operate with only a DNS nameserver. The issue is that if it fails, goes out of service due to maintenance, or gets attacked, a DNS outage will be the consequence.
  • Cyber attacks. If your server gets targeted by a cyber attacker and you don’t have DDoS protection, or you can’t handle effective mitigation, the DNS outage will happen.
  • Data center issues. Servers are hosted in reliable premises to keep them safe. But even the safest data center can be a victim of a natural disaster. If a fire, flood, electric storm, etc., hits it, servers can be damaged or gone producing a DNS outage.

Is it possible to prevent a DNS outage?

Yes, it’s possible to prevent a DNS outage!

  • Automate human tasks. Avoiding human errors must be a priority. Technology solutions are many and available for you.
  • Increase the TTL of DNS records. Low TTL values will push resolvers to search for updates more frequently.
  • Get redundancy. The use of Anycast DNS or Secondary DNS servers is widely recommended. Through Anycast DNS, you will have a large network of servers globally distributed by your side. All of them will share the same IP address, the one of your domain. By adding Secondary servers, you will have extra copies of your DNS data on other servers. In both cases, if a server of the network goes down, there will be many more up (or at least another one) that could do the job.
  • Use DDoS protection. Cyber attacks happen very frequently. Shield your business not to suffer DNS downtime.

Conclusion

A DNS outage means unavailability and loss for your online business and pocket. Better prevent it!

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Botnet attack: Definition and Details

Botnet attacks have proved to have a devastating effect on the victims. Besides, it seems not hard for criminals to build the botnets or to rent them to execute the attack. Therefore, neglecting the threat is not wise!

Botnet attack: Definition.

A Botnet attack is a cyber assault in which the attackers leverage a group of infected devices (malware) programmed to execute malicious tasks against a target that can be a server, all types of websites, and other devices. By multiplying the attack sources, criminals can scale the aggression and make it harder to stop. Cybercriminals frequently use botnet attacks to deploy Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, scraping, data breaches, hijacking, malware distribution, sabotage of services, and more illegal actions. Experience proves that both enterprises and individuals can be targeted.

What is a botnet?

Botnet means robot network. A botnet is a group of robot devices commanded by malicious people or an individual. Frequently, criminals use malware to infect as many devices as possible to recruit the robots that will shape their herd (network). Once infected, these devices become robots or zombies that can be remotely commanded by the attacker.

Besides being a target of a Botnet attack, right now, your own devices could be part of a herd and used to attack a victim without your consent. That’s why we all must be aware of malware and protect our devices.

A botnet can include all types of connected devices like computers, smartphones, and IoT (Internet of Things: security cameras, smart lights, watches, thermostats, home voice controllers, cooling and heating systems, fitness trackers, etc.). No matter the geographical location of your device, it can be infected and recruited into a botnet.

The use of a botnet can be itself an attack or a tool to boost the power of another type of attack.

How does a Botnet attack work?

A Botnet attack works through a network of robots. Recruiting the zombies takes a few steps:

  1. First, the attacker looks for a useful vulnerability to expose users to malware.
  2. Second, the infection occurs, so the criminal controls the device.
  3. Third, activation of the whole botnet can now execute the tasks commanded by the criminal.

In a DDoS attack, the attacker will order the herd to send huge amounts of payloads or requests to a specific victim to saturate it, disrupt it, and shut it down.

In a data breach, the botnet will be programmed to steal valuable and confidential information from the target (intellectual property, financial details, banking information, etc.).

In a Spam attack, the task of the robots will be to spread spam messages massively. A robust botnet can send billions of malicious messages per day.

Every compromised device can be commanded to monitor the user’s activity to scan financial information, banking details, and passwords.

Conclusion.

Botnet attacks are happening very frequently. By understanding the enemy better, you can build a security strategy to prevent or fight in case of attack.

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