DNS Hijacking: An Important Guide In 2021

Ajay Ohri


Teams from the IT and Network Operations Center (NOC) must realize that attacks from the Domain Name System (DNS) will become quite common. Financial services, telecoms, e-commerce firms, and government agencies will be most affected by a complex DNS security threat environment due to business disruption, information, and data breaches.

With the rising shift towards a more virtual workforce, few cybersecurity experts need to be told that DNS hijacking is a critical problem, one that is vital to protecting the financial assets and credibility of a business. Companies invest more than ever in implementing solutions for DNS monitoring and recruiting or honing the talent required for a good first line of defense. The various forms of DNS hijacking attacks, the costs and impacts of such attacks, and how businesses can recognize and avoid possible DNS attacks are discussed in this article. 

In this article, we will explore 

  1. What is DNS hijacking?
  2. Why was it hijacked DNS?
  3. Types Of DNS Hijacking
  4. DNS Hijacking Prevention

1. What Is DNS Hijacking?

Domain Name Server hijacking or DNS hijacking, often referred to as DNS redirect, is a form of DNS hijacking attack that incorrectly resolves DNS queries to redirect users to malicious sites unexpectedly. 

It is possible to use DNS hijacking for pharming (in this case, attackers usually display unwanted advertising to generate revenue) or phishing (displaying fake versions of sites users access and stealing data or credentials).

A sort of DNS hijacking is often used by many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to take over DNS requests from a customer, collect data, and return advertising when users visit an unknown domain. DNS hijacking is used by some governments for censorship, redirecting users to government-authorized sites.

2. Why Was It Hijacked DNS?

For a variety of purposes, a DNS could be hacked. It may be used for pharming by the hijacker, which is to show advertising revenue generation or phishing to customers, which guides users to a bogus version of your website to steal data or login information.

It is also known that Internet Service Providers (ISP) use domain redirection to monitor DNS queries from users to gather user data. Domain hijacking is used for censorship or redirecting users to alternate websites by other organizations.

3. Types Of DNS Hijacking

  • DNS Router Hijack: The DNS router is a hardware system used by domain service providers to align their corresponding IP addresses with domain names. Most routers come with default passwords and a host of firmware-wide bugs. They will quickly divert the traffic to another website and jam the company’s website and make it inaccessible if they successfully overwrite the DNS router.
  • DNS Hijacking for Man-In-The-Middle: This is often called DNS spoofing. In this scenario, the attacker targets and intercepts the contact between the website’s traffic and the site’s DNS, modifying the DNS settings to direct the traffic to a malicious IP address.
  • Local DNS Hijack: On the website user’s computer, a local DNS attack installs malware. This allows for all the data or information to be easily attacked or retrieved by the hacker.
  • Rogue DNS Server: The DNS server is compromised by attackers, documents are modified and requests are routed to malicious pages.

4. DNS Hijacking Prevention

To prevent DNS hijacking, there are various precautionary measures you can take to improve your DNS security. Of the basic mitigation steps, we have three categories:

A) Prevent Name Server Hijacking Mitigation Steps

Cybercriminals attack DNS routers and reconfigure them to funnel traffic on the Internet to malicious places. The DNS name server is a valuable resource that should have powerful security measures to prevent hackers from hacking website users and launching attacks. Below are the elaborate steps that can be taken by the IT team to enhance the security of the name server of your domain.

  • Install your DNS Resolver Firewalls: Every DNS has resolvers, legitimate resolvers. Have the IT team put the legitimate resolvers behind a firewall to stop this from happening, and shut down all non-required DNS resolvers.
  • Increase Name Server Access Restrictions: An intruder inside your company may be an enemy. Increasing the Name Server Access Restrictions will ensure information or paths for hijackings is not opened from the inside of the firewall.
  • Popular steps to avoid website cache poisoning include randomization of user identity, randomization of server source ports, and use of both upper and lower cases in the domain name of your company.
  • Immediately, cybercriminals prey on apparent vulnerabilities to launch DNS attacks. Repair the identified vulnerabilities. To avoid attacks, have the IT team review the DNS for any bugs and immediately patch them up.
  • Records in the DNS region are vulnerable files containing data frequently attacked by attackers. Avoid Zone Transfers. Hackers can pose as servers with slave names requesting a zone transfer, which involves copying records of the server zone. Avoid zone transfers to prevent this weakness.

B) End-User Mitigation Measures

DNS hijackers also target user information and passwords, in addition to advertising items for hijacked traffic. Users of the website can prevent hijacking by changing their passwords frequently, installing and upgrading their anti-virus computers, and using secure virtual private networks. 

C) Website Owners Prevention Measures

Your IT team should take the following precautions to prevent DNS hijacking if your company uses a Domain Name Registrar:

  • DNS connectivity can be limited to only a few IT team members via multi-factor authentication when accessing a domain name server registrar. Ensure Safe Access. DNS hacking can be stopped dramatically by this measure. 
  • Client Lock-Some DNS Loggers use client locks to boost DNS protection. Using a DNSSEC Domain Name Service Provider. If DNSSEC (DNS Security Extension) is provided by your DNS registrar, allow it to add a layer of security that makes intercepting and redirecting traffic from your website to a fake site difficult for attackers.


Resolving domain names into numerical IP addresses, from the endpoint to the root DNS server, is rife with vulnerabilities for ordinary users and companies, thereby providing attackers with great opportunities. An attacker can redirect the web traffic of your company to the attacker-controlled networks with a successful hijack, complete with legitimate encryption certificates, and execute man-in-the-middle attacks. By modifying local DNS settings or poisoning the local host file, DNS attacks on the system are easily achieved.

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