Domain Hijacking vs. DNS Poisoning: Know the Difference

15th September, 2022

Posted by ESQwire

Businesses that rely on internet traffic for customers and clients — which is most businesses in the 21st century — need to know about the risks of Domain Name System (DNS) attacks. There is a wide range of types of DNS attacks that can occur, and they each work differently. Various kinds of DNS attacks are designed to redirect internet traffic away from actual businesses and to fraudulent servers and sites in order to steal a person’s passwords, bank account information, or other personal and sensitive details that can be used for identity theft and other malicious actions. In addition, DNS attacks can also be used to install viruses, worms, or malware on a person’s computer so that the attacker can continue to gain ongoing access to sensitive information. 

It is important to understand the distinctions between the types of attacks that can occur so that you can consider various DNS security options. Attacks include domain hijacking vs DNS poisoning. Companies need to consider types of DNS attacks and specific security options that can provide protection against these kinds of attacks. 

What is DNS?

In order to understand how DNS attacks happen, and what the distinctions are between and among different types of DNS attacks, it is important to have a clear understanding of what DNS is and how it works. On a basic level, according to PC Mag, the “Domain Name System converts website names into IP addresses so your computer can understand the query.” Another way to put it, PC Mag explains, is to think of DNS like an internet phone book since it allows website domain names to be “found and loaded into your web browser.” Yet, of course, the process is more complex than that. 

There are different servers that are responsible for converting a host name to an IP address and getting the internet user to the place they intend to go, and the processes that these servers conduct are known as DNS resolutions. Each is involved in the process, including the recursive DNS server, the root name server, the top-level domain nameserver, and the authoritative nameserver.

DNS Attacks: Domain Hijacking vs DNS Poisoning

Now that you have a clearer understanding of how the Domain Name System works and how it allows internet users to access a business’s website, it is important to be clear about different types of domain attacks, including domain hijacking vs DNS poisoning. Both are types of DNS attacks, but they have different characteristics. The following are common types of DNS attacks that occur:

  • Domain hijacking;
  • DNS flood attack;
  • Distributed reflection denial of service, or DRDoS;
  • DNS cache poisoning, also known as DNS spoofing;
  • DNS tunneling; and
  • Random subdomain attack.

What is the difference between domain hijacking and DNS poisoning? Consider the following information.

Understanding Domain Hijacking

According to an article from Infoblox, DNS hijacking or domain hijacking is a broader and more generic term that can refer to “any attack that tricks the end user into thinking he or she is communicating with a legitimate domain name when in reality it is communicating with a domain name or IP address that the attacker has set up.” In some cases, domain hijacking or DNS hijacking is also known as DNS redirection. As SecurityTrails further clarifies, domain hijacking involves a range of actions that direct internet traffic away from the intended servers and to “new destinations” that are established and controlled by the attackers. In other words, SecurityTrails clarifies, domain hijacking “is another way to say your domain name has been stolen.”

There are many ways to prevent domain hijacking, and you may have a few options for recovering hijacked domains.

Understanding DNS Cache Poisoning

A common type of DNS attack is DNS cache poisoning or DNS spoofing. According to Imperva, this type of DNA attack alters the existing DNS records in order to “redirect online traffic to a fraudulent website that resembles its intended destination.” In other words, DNS poisoning results in an internet user being taken to a website that may look like the intended destination and may trick the user into entering sensitive information that can give the attacker access to the user’s account information or other personal details.

Contact a Domain Name Lawyer Today

Both domain hijacking and DNS poisoning are types of DNS attacks that can be prevented with appropriate security. They can harm a business, and they can result in a customer’s sensitive information being stolen by the attacker. If you have questions about preventing these types of DNS attacks or recovering from domain hijacking or DNS poisoning, you should seek advice from an experienced domain lawyer who can assist you. Contact ESQWire today for more information.

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