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How to boost cyber defense with DNS lookup API and DNS database download

Maintaining the integrity of your DNS infrastructure is critical to a healthy overall cybersecurity posture.

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Ever wondered how you can up the ante when it comes to cybersecurity? Ever thought about doing so by looking up a domain’s DNS history?

Domain Name System (DNS) records can provide a lot of intel to understand how a cyber attack occurred, what tools, tactics, and procedures (TTPs) attackers used, and, most importantly, who’s behind them.

As such, readily available solutions such as DNS Lookup API and DNS Database Download can actually provide information that is critical to cybercrime investigations. With these, security specialists can determine where domains are hosted, along with all of their connected mail servers, IP addresses, and name servers. This data can help cybersecurity researchers and threat hunters with their risk analysis and threat intelligence-gathering efforts.

Despite their many uses, however, DNS record lookup solutions are underused when it comes to maintaining a network’s overall cybersecurity posture. And so we listed down just some of their applications and attacks they can help prevent.

Using DNS Lookup Solutions to Bolster Cybersecurity

By using proactive solutions, security specialists can learn the ins and outs of attacks to consequently come up with better security strategies to prevent them before they can cause significant damage. For example, here’s how using solutions such as DNS Lookup API and DNS Database Download can help:

  • A passive database such as DNS Database Download allows users to see when a domain was last updated. Making domain changes typically takes a lot of time and is not usually done after the initial setup (when it was registered). If the last time that a domain was updated does not match its registration date or when its owner last modified it, that could be a sign of an attack.
  • A DNS record lookup API, meanwhile, lists down all server and IP addresses, subdomains, certificates, and records attached to a domain. If any of these don’t match the settings the domain owner set, they could be indicative of attacks as well.

Threats that DNS Lookups Can Help Address

Cyber attackers often abuse misconfigured DNS records to launch DNS hijacking, cache poisoning, denial-of-service (DoS), and other attacks. And they have proven successful so far as these recent events and statistics show:

  • We saw a DNS hijacking attack on a global scale in January 2019. Dubbed “DNSpionage,” suspected Iranian hackers were able to amass huge volumes of email account passwords and other sensitive data from multiple governments and private companies worldwide. The attackers compromised several insufficiently secured DNS records and manipulated them to steal data from connected systems.
  • Probably one of the most significant cache poisoning attacks was recorded in Brazil in 2011. In it, the attackers redirected affected users’ computers to malware-hosting pages before allowing them to access the actual pages they wished to visit. They did that by injecting malware into the vulnerable servers of Internet service providers (ISPs).
  • To date, we see a whopping 30,000 DoS attacks per day that result in service disruption for companies that are not sufficiently prepared for such threats. Victims can range from small businesses to large enterprises that sometimes get knocked off the Internet for hours to days, translating to productivity and revenue loss. We saw the most massive distributed DoS (DDoS) attack last year, which hit an undisclosed organization with 500 million packets per second (PPS).

As was stated earlier, though, while DNS-based attacks are hard to detect, it is possible to mitigate risks. Paying closer attention to your organization’s DNS infrastructure to make sure none of your records have been or can be tampered with is one way to avoid becoming the next victim. Regular checks on a passive DNS database can also help to see if anything is amiss.

Maintaining the integrity of your DNS infrastructure is critical to a healthy overall cybersecurity posture. DNS Lookup API and DNS Database Download can help security specialists look for ongoing attacks on their domains and avoid more costly DNS-based attack repercussions. Armed with the knowledge of security issues and vulnerabilities in your network, you can tighten your security, especially in areas that are most likely to get attacked.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

Editor’s Note: Jonathan Zhang is the founder and CEO of Threat Intelligence Platform (TIP)—a data, tool, and API provider that specializes in automated threat detection, security analysis, and threat intelligence solutions for Fortune 1000 and cybersecurity companies. TIP is part of the WhoisXML API family, a trusted intelligence vendor by over 50,000 clients.

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