​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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DNSSEC: Everything you need to know

The concept of DNSSEC

The collection of security extensions known as DNSSEC gives DNS authentication and data integrity.

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) developed it in the 1990s. Its principal objective is to offer an authentication mechanism that uses digital signatures based on open cryptography to demonstrate the data’s origin. With a private key, the data owner can certify the security of DNS data (DNS records). Each recursive server can authenticate the source of the data by comparing it to the public key.

The root server is at the top of the trust chain, which extends down to the specific hostname. Except for the root zone, which has nothing above it, each zone is signed by the one above it.

The recursive server will drop data and try again if, for any reason, it cannot authenticate it. Be safe rather than sorry.

How does DNSSEC increase security?

Your security is increased by DNSSEC, which gives you the instruments (suite) to ensure that DNS records are not changed. As a result, your safety is boosted, and the likelihood of illicit activities like DNS cache poisoning is reduced (DNS spoofing). When a criminal is able to change DNS records instantly, the client receives them and is then directed to a different server that the criminal is in control of.

Additionally, DNSSEC enables you to verify the origin of DNS data. You should be aware by now of the frequency and various methods thieves employ to attack the DNS. This feature for authentication is very important. Knowing for sure that data truly belongs to the source they are said to come from, i.e., to the correct authoritative name server, is priceless. This lessens the likelihood of bogus servers succeeding.

If DNSSEC is enabled, DNS recursive servers can verify the authenticity of the data they use, making it trustworthy. We will discard fake data. And they won’t use them to maintain security if the recursion somehow fails to authenticate data. In order to prevent the use of phony or fabricated data, they will attempt the authentication procedure again.

How to apply it?

Most DNS hosting firms support DNSSEC, but it is not turned on by default. As a result, almost all well-known generic top-level domains and country-code top-level domains can use DNSSEC, although some domains cannot.

You must activate it in the management panel (Dashboard) of your DNS provider before you can begin using it. Then, simply select “enable” next to each zone you desire. After that, you’ll get a DS record (delegation singer) and put it in the location where your domain is registered. The chain will then be finished.

Conclusion

Priority one is security. Your domain cannot exist online without DNS, however, DNS by itself is not secure. To safeguard your domain, network, and users, enable DNSSEC.

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3 DNS attacks you should know

Definition of DNS attacks

What is the definition of DNS attacks? The term refers to a type of cyber attack in which malicious hackers target an organization’s DNS servers, which hold domain names that the hackers seek. They can then carry out the assaults listed below once they obtain those domain names. In addition, bad actors can potentially check for vulnerabilities in a system to exploit.

Any attack against the availability or stability of a network’s DNS service is referred to as a DNS attack. DNS assaults include cache poisoning and other attacks that use DNS as a method as part of a larger attack strategy.

3 prevalent DNS attacks that you need to know

  1. DNS poisoning

A DNS poisoning, commonly known as DNS cache poisoning or DNS spoofing attack, ruins the DNS server by replacing the original IP address with a fraudulent one stored in the server’s cache memory. Attackers employ this approach to divert web traffic to a hacker-controlled website where sensitive data is harvested. Furthermore, these malicious websites are frequently used to infect end users’ computers with viruses or worms, giving the threat actor long-term access to the machine and any data it saves.

  1. Amplification attack

An amplification attack is any attack in which the attacker can multiply their power by using an amplification factor. Amplification attacks are “asymmetric.” What does this mean? This is when an attacker only needs a small number of low levels of resources to cause a much larger number or higher level of target resources to malfunction or fail. Some of the most widespread amplification attacks are, for example, Fraggle Attacks (UDP amplification), Smurf Attacks (ICMP amplification), and DNS Amplification.

  1. DNS tunneling

DNS Tunneling is the last major DNS attack. It uses DNS to encrypt (tunnel) malware and other data in DNS requests and responses (client-server way).

In a nutshell, here is how it works. First, a criminal registers a domain and links it to its own name server. In this final phase, a tunneling trojan is installed. A machine that has been infected makes a request to a DNS resolution server. DNS requests can freely get through firewalls because DNS is authorized. Here is when the risk begins. The resolver forwards the request to the criminal’s server, which establishes a link between the criminal and the target via the DNS resolution server. Because there is no direct link between the target and the criminal, the criminal’s computer is hidden and difficult to detect.

Is it possible to be protected?

You now realize how dangerous DNS hacks may be. Here are some strategies for dealing with them:

  • Implement DNSSEC. DNSSEC (Domain Name System Security Extensions) is a DNS security extension. It gives DNS data that travels the internet with cryptographic verification, validating the source and integrity of the DNS data.
  • Use Monitoring service. Monitoring outgoing and inbound queries is the first step in discovering abnormalities. Furthermore, the context information offered by your answer data allows for a more thorough forensic investigation.
  • Install a firewall. A firewall is a network security solution (hardware, software, or both) that protects networks by utilizing certain functionality and security rules. Incoming and outgoing traffic monitoring, traffic filtering, unauthorized outsider access blocking, suspicious traffic blocking, and dangerous program blocking are just some of the features available.

Conclusion

You are now familiar with the most popular DNS attacks – DNS poisoning, Amplification attack, and DNS tunneling. So, if you want to protect yourself against them, you could implement DNSSEC, Install a firewall or use a Monitoring service for your traffic.

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Best Free Monitoring services [List]

The topic of our article today is the Free Monitoring services. It used to be challenging to keep track of your own website, but that is no longer the case. Several simple website monitoring solutions are available these days, some of which are free. The most difficult part is deciding which one to go with.

It’s difficult to determine which free services you can trust, as it is with any form of free service, and choosing a website monitoring tool is a vital option. You don’t want to risk losing leads, clients, or income due to a malfunctioning instrument.

What does the term “Free Monitoring service” imply?

The Free Monitoring service has a simple definition. As the name implies, it is something for which you will not be charged. Furthermore, it is a program that tests the availability of your website at predetermined intervals. When your website goes down, you will be notified immediately via several channels, allowing you to restore service quickly.

In addition, as you might expect, there is a paid version. It offers more features. But which plan should you go with? That entirely depends on your company’s traffic. That is to say, the free version is more suitable for smaller to medium-sized companies with a low amount of traffic. Correspondingly, large companies with a high traffic volume are better off with the paid plan.

List of the best Free Monitoring services

  • ClouDNS

ClouDNS is the first reliable Monitoring service provider. It offers both premium and free programs that are appropriate for both large and small enterprises. You can only have one monitoring check with the Free Monitoring plan. It has over 80 monitoring locations spread out around the world. In addition, the monitoring period is 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, and 60 minutes. As a result, if you use the ClouDNS Monitoring service, you will have seven days of log retention. Additionally, this DNS Hosting provider offers live chat support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • Statuscake

The next one is Statuscake. It’s a London-based company that’s been around since 2012. It also offers both paid and unpaid monitoring options. The free plan includes ten uptime monitoring checks with a test interval of around 5 minutes. Furthermore, if something goes wrong, you will be notified via email and platform reports.

  • UptimeRobot

The last provider on our list is UptimeRobot. It is a company that offers uptime Monitoring services for websites. It features a free and premium plan, just like the other two. As a result, the Free version features 50 monitors and five-minute checks. You may see the web site’s performance in real-time with it! In addition, this tool allows you to check if a given keyword is present in the HTML source of a website.

Conclusion

To sum up, the Monitoring service could be really advantageous for you and your company. But, do you need to pay for it? No, there is also a Free plan for this service. But if you need more features, you can always upgrade to a paid one. Good luck with your choice!

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