DNS Spoofing – What does it mean?

DNS Spoofing explained

You can find DNS Spoofing, also called DNS poisoning. Don’t get confused. It is the same thing. It is a technique applied by hackers which includes imitating a device or a user. That is applied as a cover, with which the disruption of the regular flow of traffic or reaching protected data is not such a difficult task. 

The attacker takes its time to remodel a Domain Name System (DNS) to one, which is spoofed. Therefore when a customer is trying to explore a particular website, it is going to be directed in a completely separate way. Users actually, in most cases, don’t even realize that they are exploring a fake website rather than the legitimate one they requested to visit. The reason for that is these fake sites are created the same as the original website. The differences are not major at all. 

Once the attack is initiated, the whole traffic is guided to the server, which is non-legit. In such a position, hackers are able to perform various malicious actions, such as stealing sensitive data or man-in-the-middle attacks. Furthermore, they can also install a virus on their victim’s device, even placing a worm to increase the harm to more machines.

The different tactics

To achieve their illegal purposes, attackers apply different tactics. Still, the intention is to direct the traffic to forged websites.

  • Tactic through spam. Ads, images, or URLs in spam e-mails can contain infected code. So when a user clicks the URL, the device gets spoofed. Afterward, the code guides the user to fabricated websites. 
  • Tactic through Man-in-the-middle method. The attacker is precisely between the DNS server and the user browser. The goal of this method is to poison the user’s computer and the server at the same time. The code is injected through software which makes the communication poisoned.
  • Tactic through hijacking a DNS server. The attackers access the server, using weak spots, editing the configuration, including a fake entry, and so on. So, as a result, every IP request made for a particular site is going to enter the forged one.

How to protect against cache poisoning (DNS spoofing)?

  • Encryption. Use encryption to keep DNS data, such as queries and responses safe. It is not possible to forge a copy of the security certificate from the original website. 
  • Detection. Softwares for examining the received data are a great solution for a prior step. 
  • DNSSEC. It helps for verifying the authenticity of data via DNS records, which are digitally signed. Thus, DNSSEC keeps the DNS lookup’s authenticity safe.

The main targets are the users of this criminal action. Thus they have to also take some precautions.

  • VPN (Virtual Private Network). Connecting to public networks comes with bigger risks. VPN serves to interact with servers safely and communicate with the domains.
  • Unfamiliar links. Don’t click blindly on suspicious URLs. Such links come from unknown senders, usually attached in spam messages or social media messages. By avoiding clicking on them, users can keep their data safe.
  • DNS cache. The DNS data of often visited sites stay saved for some time. So it could be only the user’s device spoofed and not the server anymore. So to avoid being directed by the browser to fake sites, it is a good idea to clean the DNS cache regularly.

What does DNSSEC mean?

DNSSEC meaning

Domain Name Security Extensions (DNSSEC) is a great way to add an extra security layer to your domains. It is an advanced DNS feature, which attaches digital signature (DS) records to the DNS information. So, that way, it can establish the authenticity of the source domain name.

The purpose of which it is designed is to protect Internet users from falsified DNS data. An example of such a case can be a misleading or malicious address rather than the actual address you wanted to visit.

Once you enable DNSSEC, the DNS lookups will have to use a digital signature to prove that the origin of the site’s DNS is accurate. It is very helpful for preventing some types of attacks. In case the digital signature does not match, the browsers will not open the site.

What is the way DNSSEC works?

The main goal of DNSSEC is to protect Internet users from forged DNS data through validating digital signatures inserted in the data. 

Whenever a user wants to enter a domain name in a browser, the resolver verifies the digital signature.

The digital signatures in the data and those that are in the master DNS server have to match. Only then is the data allowed to access the user computer, which is making the request.

These digital signatures are making sure that the user is communicating with the website that he intended to visit.

DNSSEC implements a system of public keys and digital signatures to validate the information. To alongside existing DNS records, it adds new records. These new type records are DNSKEY and RRSIG, which can be retrieved such as the more common records, like A, CNAME, and MX.

They are implemented to digitally “sign” a domain with a method named public-key cryptography.

Nameserver, which is signed, has a private and public key for every zone. Every time a user makes a request, it sends data signed with its private key. Then the recipient unlocks it with the public key. If someone attempts to send misleading information, it won’t be able to unlock appropriately with the public key, so the recipient will identify that the data is false.

What does it protect against?

The fundamental protection that DNSSEC can provide is to limit third parties from falsifying records. It also guarantees the integrity of the domain by restricting:

False zones: DNSSEC can be beneficial for protecting versus malicious DNS attacks that make unfair use of the DNS system and give imitation results for zones. They may not even exist actually, and attackers benefit from gaps between zones. DNSSEC provides mechanisms to avoid gap usage and secures the whole zone. That is also called the authenticated denial of existence. 

DNS Cache Poisoning: This is a form of man-in-the-middle attack. Criminals flood a DNS resolver with fake DNS data. In some cases, these attacks can increase to a large number and set a false end result inside the cache of the DNS resolver. As a result, the DNS resolver gives this malicious and false web address to every user that is requesting that specific website. This continues until the TTL (Time-to-Live) expires.