How To Stop DNS Hijacking?
DNS hijacking is a malicious attack on any internet-connected device, from computers to routers and firewalls. An adequately secured internal DNS server provides an effective defence against this attack. Still, many users opt to switch from a public DNS service to a private one or opt-out of the feature entirely. Although both options work, they’re not always an appropriate choice.
For example, switching to a private DNS service may be ideal for home networks where only the PCs use IPv4 but might cause problems in corporate environments requiring all web resources due to security policies. Similarly, opting out of this setting is convenient but can pose security vulnerabilities if you frequently connect devices running older operating systems or pre-Windows ten editions.
How To Stop DNS Hijacking
Changing DNS Of Your Network
Changing the DNS for your network is one of the simplest and effective methods to prevent hijacking. However, as long as you’re using a public DNS service like those listed above, this technique offers little protection against attacks that could pull data out of your network and exploit it elsewhere (for instance, by installing malware).
This method also isn’t much help to ensure that information about your browsing habits doesn’t end up in somebody else’s hands. In addition, there may be times when you simply can’t configure a device for a specific public DNS server, such as using certain Wi-Fi routers or gaming consoles that limit which servers they’ll accept settings from.
In these cases, choosing not to use a public DNS server might be your best option.
If you want to take an additional step in protecting yourself against DNS hijacking, consider using a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs encrypt all of the data travelling between your device and the server it’s connected to, which makes it difficult for anyone on the same network as you or an attacker sitting in-between you and your destination to see what information is being sent back and forth over the internet.
VPNs should not be used themselves; instead, they’re designed to work with other security features like updated antivirus software that can detect malicious payloads before they ever get through to endanger your device or home network. For this reason, it’s always wise to have a backup plan in place.
Make Sure Everything Is Updated
For further protection, make sure your antivirus software, operating system and other applications are always up-to-date. It’s also a good idea to configure any software you use to “auto-update” itself when new patches become available. While the occasional hijacked DNS entry won’t cause too much damage, making sure all of your information is encrypted while in transit makes it look like gibberish, even if it ever falls into the wrong hands.
Impact of DNS Hijacking
A DNS hijacking attack is carried out via the manipulation of the device’s DHCP settings. Hackers try to trick the system into thinking that they are your internet service provider (ISP) – or, at least, a server belonging to them – so it will use their DNS servers instead of yours.
Although this may not sound particularly harmful, hackers can exploit this vulnerability to direct you to phishing sites that look like legitimate domains but are fake pages created for stealing login credentials.
For example, I suppose they want to intercept account details entered on Google’s website. In that case, they will modify your computer’s TCP/IP properties so that they receive an IP address belonging to Gmail. Then all you have to do is type “gmail.com” in your browser’s address bar, and the system will automatically redirect you to a fake login page. Entering your password on this site is akin to handing over your login details – including all other saved data – straight into cybercriminals’ hands.
Once attackers gain access to these systems via the network they’ve infected with malware or tricked into credentials, they can easily modify DNS settings without you knowing. This is why it’s essential to use a reliable DNS server that only allows legitimate connections. Otherwise, your device may become part of a botnet or an affiliate in various scams.
Open DNS One Can Configure
If you choose not to use your ISP’s DNS services or want extra protection beyond what it offers, here are four free public DNS servers you can configure on most devices.
OpenDNS – 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168 (recommended)
Up until 2010, there was only one free option with OpenDNS, which was enough for most people. But the company has since added the ability to use up to five public DNS servers, using their cloud infrastructure and smart caching algorithms to provide high-performance access to content on the web.
Google Public DNS – 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199
Located in California, this free public DNS offers encrypted connections that are reliable and fast, even if you’re behind a firewall or router that blocks other similar services from working correctly. While Google’s primary business is web searching, it also provides security through its search engine thanks to finding security holes before anyone else does.
OpenNIC – 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206
A non-profit organization that caters to users who want an alternative to the two public DNS services above, OpenNIC provides free access to a private, uncensored and encrypted DNS server. Performance can be somewhat sporadic depending on where you are located in the world, so only configure your device’s settings if it’s essential for you to use this service rather than another.
Verisign – 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168 (for IPv6)
This public DNS server is similar to Google Public DNS in that it offers HTTPS encryption for greater security when browsing the web. Verisign also provides DNSSEC support, which prevents cache poisoning attacks from happening by verifying digital signatures that ensure requests originate from where they claim to.
Any user who requires secure internal name resolution needs to establish a local DNS server since it’s currently one of the best ways of protecting your device from malicious attacks and hackers.
Since DNS hijacking attacks are carried out using an IP address that looks legitimate, it can be challenging to detect unauthorized modifications when connecting devices used for work or school purposes. This applies to PCs and routers, firewalls, VoIP gear, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and others are alike.