theDocumentId => 752782 DNS Hijacking on the Rise as Warning Is Issued

Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Network Security

01:10 PM
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb

DNS Hijacking on the Rise as Warning Is Issued

The National Cyber Security Centre, a part of the UK's GCHQ, has issued an advisory that deals with Domain Name System (DNS) hijacking by threat actors.

The National Cyber Security Centre, a part of the UK's GCHQ, has issued an advisorythat deals with Domain Name System (DNS) hijacking by threat actors.

DNS hijacking refers to the unauthorized alteration of DNS entries in a zone file on an authoritative DNS server (or the modification of domain configurations in relation to a domain registrar) by an attacker. This can be used to redirect traffic in order to capture sensitive information.

The NCSC has recently observed various attacks which exploit the DNS system at different levels. This includes the "Sea Turtle" bad actors which have been plaguing Brazil. Avast has discovered that 180,000 users in the Avast user base, located in Brazil have had their DNS hijacked in the first half of 2019.

A threat actor using this method can create malicious DNS records. These records can hide a malicious site within an organization's familiar domains. The camouflage can help hide a phishing site, for example.

Domain-validated SSL certificates are issued based on the creation of DNS records; so an attacker may obtain valid SSL certificates for a domain name, which could be used to create a threat website. An attacker could carry out transparent proxying with this method. This is when the attacker modifies an organization's configured domain zone entries (such as "A" or "CNAME" records) to point traffic to their own IP address (which would be infrastructure that they manage).

The NCSC has a number of mitigation techniques that they recommend. For instance, they have found that the most common DNS hijacking takes place at the registrar level, simply by gaining unauthorized access to a registrant's account. This is usually done by the standard kinds of methods like phishing, credential stuffing and social engineering.

They recommend deploying Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) when available.

Other preventative methods can be taken, as well. An organization can regularly audit who can access the registrar control panel and make changes with the registrar. Controlling legitimate access to the registrar is a very important step.

Another important, but often overlooked step, is realizing that domain registrations typically have four points of contact: the registrant, technical, administrative, and billing contacts. An organization must ensure that all contact information is up to date. This is non-trivial, since contact updates are often overlooked when an organizations grows, shrinks, moves, or is acquired. A registrar may send certain types of communication to only one of those roles, and in some disputes, the registrant contact usually takes precedence.

Many registries offer a "registrar lock" service. This lock prevents the domain being transferred to a new owner, without the lock being removed. This is an additional level of protection whereby changes cannot be made until additional authentication has taken place which usually involves a call to the owner.

DNS can be an easy to exploit portal into your organization. Paying attention to the details of it rather than just assuming it will do things automagically is the only secure path an organization has.

— Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor for the launch of WebWeek.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
I Smell a RAT! New Cybersecurity Threats for the Crypto Industry
David Trepp, Partner, IT Assurance with accounting and advisory firm BPM LLP,  7/9/2021
Attacks on Kaseya Servers Led to Ransomware in Less Than 2 Hours
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  7/7/2021
It's in the Game (but It Shouldn't Be)
Tal Memran, Cybersecurity Expert, CYE,  7/9/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
The State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
In this report learn how enterprises are building their incident response teams and processes, how they research potential compromises, how they respond to new breaches, and what tools and processes they use to remediate problems and improve their cyber defenses for the future.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2021-07-29
Apache jUDDI uses several classes related to Java's Remote Method Invocation (RMI) which (as an extension to UDDI) provides an alternate transport for accessing UDDI services. RMI uses the default Java serialization mechanism to pass parameters in RMI invocations. A remote attacker can send a malic...
PUBLISHED: 2021-07-28
This affects all versions of package curly-bracket-parser. When used as a template library, it does not properly sanitize the user input.
PUBLISHED: 2021-07-28
All versions of package deepmergefn are vulnerable to Prototype Pollution via deepMerge function.
PUBLISHED: 2021-07-28
This affects the package elFinder.AspNet before 1.1.1. The user-controlled file name is not properly sanitized before it is used to create a file system path.
PUBLISHED: 2021-07-28
IBM Jazz Foundation products are vulnerable to server side request forgery (SSRF). This may allow an authenticated attacker to send unauthorized requests from the system, potentially leading to network enumeration or facilitating other attacks. IBM X-Force ID: 192434.