Cyber 101 – DNS Resolution

With a new cyberattack reported every day, everyone is asking one question; how can I make sure I’m not next? Cyber 101 is a series of blogs focusing on the ultimate basics of cybersecurity. By utilizing these simple remediations, your networks and accounts will be on their way to defending against cyber actors.

What is DNS Resolution?

When you type http://www.google.com into your web browser, the domain name must be converted into an IP address before your traffic can be routed. Insert DNS, the Domain Name Server/System. DNS is the process used to convert domains into IP addresses and vice versa. DNS is crucial in allowing human users of web services the ability to browse the internet.

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Is DNS Resolution Important to Security?

Proper DNS resolution is critical to cyber security. The ability to correctly route internet traffic is core to the usability of the internet. DNS underpins the trust vital to know that your web traffic is being sent to the correct recipient. Unfortunately, malicious actors frequently try to override DNS resolution and control where sensitive information is transmitted. When a malicious actor overrides your DNS resolution, it is called DNS hijacking. Undetected DNS hijacking can result in users sending passwords, banking information, and more to criminals without ever knowing it.

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Securing DNS Resolution

Securing DNS resolution ultimately boils down to trusting and verifying which system/set of servers is performing the name resolution. The vast majority of internet users allow their Internet Service Provider, or ISP, to resolve addresses. Reputable ISPs do a great job of DNS resolution and are a solid choice for most users. However, users and organizations that prefer a more dedicated focus on DNS resolution can subscribe to specialized services like Cisco’s Umbrella. Dedicated DNS services detect and defend against DNS hijacking and assist network administrators in controlling what web traffic is allowed in their environment. Parents can also use DNS resolution for advanced parental control, denying traffic categories such as gambling and mature content. Network administrators should regularly review their DNS servers for changes and alert on any changes made in real-time if possible.

Understanding and controlling DNS resolution is crucial to the secure routing of your network’s traffic. You can rest assured that your information arrives at your intended recipient by verifying and monitoring your DNS resolution.

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