DNS tunneling attack: Definition & Popular examples

Definition of DNS tunneling attack

DNS tunneling attack is a type of cybercrime. The goal is a domain name system attack, as maybe its name suggests. So, it operates in a straightforward manner. However, DNS requests and responses frequently contain malicious material that is encoded by other programs or protocols. This provides an unnoticed command and control channel for attackers as well as a means of data theft.

History of DNS tunneling

Stages of a DNS tunneling attack

The stages of a DNS tunneling attack are as follows:

1. A hacker registers a domain and directs it to a server that belongs to him. Then it has the malware for tunneling installed on it.

2. The hacker infects the device with malware, breaks through the victim’s firewall, and abducts the affected device or the entire network.

3. After that, they alter the configuration of the infected machine and use the domain name system to send a request from it to the attackers’ server.

4. The DNS resolver transmits the DNS query back to the attacker-controlled, tunneling-equipped authoritative DNS server.

5. The main payload is introduced, and an undetected link is made between the hacker and the target.

How can you protect yourself from it?

Exists a way to prevent DNS tunneling attacks? The answer is unmistakable yes! How? We’ll look at the two most popular approaches.

  • The installation of a firewall is the first step. This might be the best method for preventing a DNS tunneling attack. Why? Because of the technology’s real-time detection and suppression of all dangerous communications.
  • The second choice is to monitor DNS traffic using a Monitoring service system. Another successful approach is this one. Why? Since you’ll be able to keep an eye on DNS traffic and receive notifications of any potentially hazardous conduct. This can help you lessen the risks connected with DNS tunneling.
  • Another excellent choice is a system that can spot anomalous DNS requests and traffic patterns on the DNS server in real-time.
  • All inside customers can be set up to send their DNS requests to an internal DNS server. You can filter out possibly hazardous domains in this way.

What objectives do hackers have while using DNS tunneling?

Cybercriminals use DNS tunneling for a variety of activities. The use of tunneling as a signal is one reasonably easy choice. Hackers know that the target system is alive and connected to the Internet as long as the Trojan sends DNS requests from the target system, even if IT security has not yet discovered the infection.

Similar to how they access other systems, hackers also utilize DNS tunneling. For instance, the malware can search for specific data on the hard drive based on commands. This is then either deleted or transferred to the Internet by the malware.

Recommended article: DNSSEC: How does it protect your network?


Organizations face a serious threat from DNS tunneling. Control and regulation of infected endpoints and data espionage are involved. Therefore, defend yourself if you don’t want to become a victim of it.

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