DNS attacks remain a problem

With the escalating problem of phishing attacks and increasingly sophisticated scams such as pharming giving IT departments everywhere headaches, the threat to domain name servers really shouldn't be underestimated. However much defensive strategies continue to be refined and ever more complicated protective methods deployed it would seem a vey real danger continues to exist. According to a recent survey of IT and business professionals by Mazerov Research and Consulting more than half claimed to have suffered a malware attack of some sort, just less than half reported pharming or cache poisoning and a third had experienced a Denial of service attack. In fact amongst all the respondents a mere 16 % claimed never to have experienced a malware attack of some sort. Indeed, of the various types of DNS attack malware came out as the most prevalent with 68%, ahead of denial of service, 48%; cache poisoning, 36% and pharming with 23%.

The prospect of an assault on a company's DNS servers is not a threat to be taken lightly. A hacker compromised Domain Name System server could lead to a wide range of phishing or pharming attacks. Strategies used to defend DNS are numerous and can become pretty complicated. Multiple, overlapping measures are common, with the average number standing at 3.5 with the patching of operating systems emerging as the most popular option. Other means of protection might include dedicated Firewalls, DoS mitigation services, and various DNS appliances.

The study also proved quite illuminating in highlighting a disparity of opinion between IT personnel and C-level executives when it came to estimating the amount of time their company could withstand significant problems if DNS was taken out. The executive averaged 126 minutes whilst the IT people came up with a slightly less optimistic 105 minutes, although in some cases thought a mere 72 minutes would result in serious problems. The potentially damaging impact of a period of internet downtime to companies was made very clear - asked how their company would fare in the event of the internet connection being knocked out for a more significant period a rather shocking 12% thought it was extremely or somewhat likely they would completely go out of business.

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