DNS hijacking is a type of cyberattack that exploits the Domain Name System (DNS), which is responsible for translating human-readable domain names (such as bing.com) into numerical IP addresses (such as 220.127.116.11) that computers can understand and communicate with.
By tampering with the DNS settings or records, attackers can redirect users to malicious websites that look like the legitimate ones, but are actually designed to steal their personal information, such as passwords, credit card numbers, or login credentials. Alternatively, attackers can also block users from accessing certain websites or services, such as social media platforms, news outlets, or online banking.
DNS hijacking can have serious consequences for both individuals and organizations, as it can compromise their data security, privacy, and reputation. For example, in 2018, a group of hackers known as Sea Turtle conducted a sophisticated DNS hijacking campaign that targeted government agencies, NGOs, and private companies in the Middle East and North Africa. The attackers managed to gain access to sensitive email accounts and network devices by impersonating trusted websites and intercepting user credentials.
So how common is DNS hijacking? According to a report by Cisco Talos Intelligence Group in 2019, DNS hijacking is on the rise and poses a significant threat to the global internet infrastructure. The report revealed that more than 40 organizations across 13 countries were affected by DNS hijacking attacks in the span of two years. Moreover, the report warned that DNS hijacking could potentially disrupt the normal functioning of the internet and undermine its reliability and trustworthiness.
How can you protect yourself from DNS hijacking? There are several steps you can take to enhance your online security and privacy against this type of attack. Here are some of them:
Use a reputable antivirus software and keep it updated. Antivirus software can help you detect and remove any malware that might try to alter your DNS settings or records on your device.
Change your router’s default password and update its firmware regularly. Router passwords are often easy to guess or crack by hackers, who can then access your router’s settings and change its DNS servers to point to malicious ones. Firmware updates can also fix any vulnerabilities that might be exploited by attackers.
Use a secure DNS service or a VPN service. A secure DNS service, such as Google Public DNS or Cloudflare’s 18.104.22.168, can provide you with faster and more reliable DNS resolution, as well as protect you from DNS hijacking and other DNS-related attacks. A VPN service, such as NordVPN or ExpressVPN, can encrypt your internet traffic and route it through a secure server, preventing anyone from intercepting or tampering with your DNS queries.
Check the website’s URL and certificate before entering any sensitive information. If you notice any spelling errors, unusual characters, or mismatched domains in the website’s URL, it might be a sign of DNS hijacking. Similarly, if you see a warning message or a red padlock icon in your browser’s address bar, indicating that the website’s certificate is invalid or expired, it might mean that the website is not secure or authentic.
DNS hijacking is a common and dangerous cyberattack that can compromise your online security and privacy. By following these tips, you can reduce your risk of falling victim to this attack and protect yourself from its harmful effects.