Attacks/Breaches
8/30/2013
06:52 PM
Ehsan Foroughi
Ehsan Foroughi
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Thwart DNS Hijackers: 5 Tips

Domain name system attacks hit The New York Times and Twitter hard last month. Here are five ways to make your DNS records harder to hack and easier to recover if they're compromised.

The Syrian Electronic Army: 9 Things We Know
(click image for larger view)
The Syrian Electronic Army: 9 Things We Know
In light of the recent domain name system (DNS) hijacking attacks on The New York Times, Twitter and Huffington Post, it's important for CIOs to take a closer look at their DNS security strategy -- and to be able to respond quickly if their company is attacked.

DNS records are basically sets of instructions that help connect your website to the outside world. The following five practices make these records harder to hijack and easier to recover if they are compromised, thereby reducing the damage attackers can cause. When DNS records are hijacked, a company must be able to get them back as quickly as possible because once the malicious records hit the caching servers, it becomes much harder to undo the damage.

1. Use best practices for credentials that allow changes to be made to DNS records.

Your whole service is only as secure as the security of the password to your DNS registrant account. Ensure that access to accounts used to update DNS records is limited to as few people in your organization as possible. Make sure to use hard-to-guess passwords, and avoid reusing passwords at all costs.

[ Here's why you shouldn't buy Android apps from off-brand sites. Read Hack 99% Of Android Devices: Big Vulnerability. ]

2. Revisit the choice of DNS provider regularly as you grow.

Many companies, particularly start-ups, frequently choose DNS registrants and DNS service providers based on a combination of their pricing and the ease of setup and use. Sometimes that means the DNS provider doesn't have much information about the owner other than a username and password used to identify the account. In cases of social engineering attacks or compromised passwords, it might be hard to reclaim the domain.

As companies grow, they should revisit their choice of provider every few months to make sure that it's capable of handling the level of security the company needs. Popular and high-profile services might be targeted by hackers with agendas -- and not every provider is capable of handling the heat that comes with popularity.

3. Make use of SSL certificates.

DNS hijacking can effectively be used to perform man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks. In a MITM attack, the attacker diverts the user to a malicious server he controls. The malicious server then sends the user's request to the original server and sends the server's response back to the user. This setup allows the attacker to steal the information being passed back and forth, inject malicious content into responses before sending them back to the user, or both.

This is one of the highest risks associated with DNS hijacking and can cause a lot of damage in the form of stolen credentials and injection of malicious content.

To arm yourself, enforce validation of SSL/TLS certificates and use certificate pinning in mobile apps and rich clients. Certificate validation means the attacker must get a certificate tied to the stolen domain before being able to carry out the MITM attack. Pinning certificates in mobile and rich clients will take this restriction even further by ensuring the attacker will need access to the pinned certificate's private keys before being able to carry out the attack. This will reduce the risk of a MITM attack, which means the DNS hijack will do much less prolonged damage.

Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
Partner Perspectives
What's This?
In a digital world inundated with advanced security threats, Intel Security seeks to transform how we live and work to keep our information secure. Through hardware and software development, Intel Security delivers robust solutions that integrate security into every layer of every digital device. In combining the security expertise of McAfee with the innovation, performance, and trust of Intel, this vision becomes a reality.

As we rely on technology to enhance our everyday and business life, we must too consider the security of the intellectual property and confidential data that is housed on these devices. As we increase the number of devices we use, we increase the number of gateways and opportunity for security threats. Intel Security takes the “security connected” approach to ensure that every device is secure, and that all security solutions are seamlessly integrated.
Featured Writers
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading's October Tech Digest
Fast data analysis can stymie attacks and strengthen enterprise security. Does your team have the data smarts?
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-2021
Published: 2014-10-24
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in admincp/apilog.php in vBulletin 4.4.2 and earlier, and 5.0.x through 5.0.5 allows remote authenticated users to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via a crafted XMLRPC API request, as demonstrated using the client name.

CVE-2014-3604
Published: 2014-10-24
Certificates.java in Not Yet Commons SSL before 0.3.15 does not properly verify that the server hostname matches a domain name in the subject's Common Name (CN) field of the X.509 certificate, which allows man-in-the-middle attackers to spoof SSL servers via an arbitrary valid certificate.

CVE-2014-6230
Published: 2014-10-24
WP-Ban plugin before 1.6.4 for WordPress, when running in certain configurations, allows remote attackers to bypass the IP blacklist via a crafted X-Forwarded-For header.

CVE-2014-6251
Published: 2014-10-24
Stack-based buffer overflow in CPUMiner before 2.4.1 allows remote attackers to have an unspecified impact by sending a mining.subscribe response with a large nonce2 length, then triggering the overflow with a mining.notify request.

CVE-2014-7180
Published: 2014-10-24
Electric Cloud ElectricCommander before 4.2.6 and 5.x before 5.0.3 uses world-writable permissions for (1) eccert.pl and (2) ecconfigure.pl, which allows local users to execute arbitrary Perl code by modifying these files.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Follow Dark Reading editors into the field as they talk with noted experts from the security world.