DNS tunneling attack explained in detail

The purpose of DNS tunneling attack

DNS tunneling is a sort of Domain Name System attack, as the name implies. It employs a client-server mechanism to push malware across a tunnel. In addition, it is a black hat approach for establishing a covert conduit into a victim’s machine or network.

The channel constructed allows embedding a malicious payload within DNS queries, allowing attackers to take advantage of DNS traffic’s largely unconstrained flow—especially in settings where practically all other communication is controlled.

How does it function?

Yes, the DNS tunneling operates on a client-server structure. How? We’ll break it down into three steps.

  1. The cybercriminal first acquires a domain name. He pointed the domain server to its computer/server. A malicious tunneling application has been deployed.
  2. The cybercriminal then infects a gadget. The majority of the time, it’s buried behind the company’s firewall. Because DNS requests are always expected to cross and leave the firewall, the infected device can send a query to the DNS resolver.
  3. Finally, the DNS resolver sends the request to the attacker’s control server, which includes the tunneling application. The DNS resolver then establishes a connection between the malicious actor and the target. As a result, we now have a tunnel that could be used for data theft or other illegal activities. This is why a DNS tunneling attack is considered to as a threat. Because there is no direct connection between the attacker and the victim, tracing the attacker’s workstation is more difficult.

How to protect yourself against a DNS tunneling attack?

Is there a method to guard against DNS tunneling attacks? Yes, the answer is a resounding yes! How? We’ll take a look at the two most frequent methods.

  1. The first step is to install a firewall. This could be the most effective technique to avoid a DNS tunneling attack. Why? Because this technology is capable of detecting and halting all harmful communications in real-time.
  2. The second option is to use a DNS Monitoring service system to keep a watch on DNS traffic. This is another way that has proven to be effective. Why? Because you’ll be able to monitor DNS traffic and be alerted to any potentially dangerous behavior. This will assist you in reducing the dangers associated with DNS tunneling.


DNS tunneling is one of the methods used to infect a victim’s computer with Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs). This is precisely why DNS tunneling is so harmful. When hackers wish to go undetected, they choose to employ this attack vector. This is a sign of targeted attacks, such as the theft of sensitive information or the planning of a large-scale attack, such as ransomware. As a result, such actions must be treated seriously, and IT security requires the necessary tools to combat them, such as early attack detection. So, don’t waste any more time and start safeguarding your networks right now.

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