Report: 79% of sites suffer DNS attacks on network security

June 12, 2020
New research from EfficientIP and IDC estimates that DNS attacks cost nearly $1 million each in downtime, increasingly impacting cloud services.

EfficientIP, a specialist in DNS [domain name system] security for service continuity, user protection and data confidentiality, has announced the results of its 2020 Global DNS Threat Report. The annual research, which was conducted in collaboration with market intelligence firm International Data Corporation (IDC), sheds light on the frequency of the different types of DNS attack and the associated costs for the last year.

According to the study, nearly four out of five organizations (79%) experienced DNS attacks, with the average cost of each attack hovering around $924,000. The report shows that organizations across all industries suffered an average 9.5 attacks this year. Per the analysts, these figures illustrate the pivotal role of the DNS for network security, "as threat actors make use of DNS’ dual capacity as either a threat vector or a direct objective."

In terms of regional damage from DNS attacks, North America led in the reporting with an average cost of attack at $1,073,000. This represents a modest decrease by about 1.36% from the year prior. While the United States saw nearly a 4% decrease in attack damages, it still has the highest cost globally at $1,082,710, finds the study.

The analysis finds that attackers appear to increasingly target the cloud. Why is this? As the number of business-critical applications hosted in hybrid-cloud environments has increased, so has the attack surface for cybercriminals. The Threat Report shows that companies that suffered cloud service downtime increased from 41% in 2019 to 50% in 2020, a sharp growth of nearly 22%.

For the reporting period, the analysts say in-house app downtime remained extremely high: 62% this year compared to 63% last year. As a whole, application downtime—whether in-house or in the cloud—remained the most significant result of DNS attacks; of the companies surveyed, 82% said that they had experienced application downtime of some kind.

The increased adoption of cloud services during the global COVID-19 pandemic could make the cloud even more attractive for DNS attackers going forward, adds the report.

“Recognition of DNS security criticality has increased to 77% as most organizations are now impacted by a DNS attack or vulnerability of some sort on a regular basis,” says Romain Fouchereau, Research Manager European Security at IDC. “The consequences of such attacks can be very damaging financially, but also have a direct impact on the ability to conduct business. Ensuring DNS service availability and integrity must become a priority for any organization."

The Global DNS Threat Report, now in its sixth year, shows the broad range and changing popularity of attack types ranging from volumetric to low signal. The report finds this year phishing led in popularity (39% of companies experienced phishing attempts), followed by malware-based attacks (34%), and traditional DDoS (27%). Crucially, the size of DDoS attacks is also shown to be increasing, with almost two-thirds (64%) being over 5Gbit/s.

Despite these worrying numbers, the analysts say enterprise awareness of how to combat these attacks is improving, with 77% of respondents in the 2020 Threat Report deeming DNS security a critical component of their network architecture, compared to 64% in the previous year. Additionally, use of Zero Trust strategies is seen as maturing, with 31% of companies are now running or piloting Zero Trust, up from 17% last year. Use of predictive analytics has also reportedly increased from 45% to 55%.

The study concludes that DNS offers valuable information against would-be hackers that is currently going underutilized. According to results from the 2020 Threat Report, currently 25% of companies perform no analytics on their DNS traffic, compared to 30% last year. Meanwhile, 35% of organizations reportedlby do not make use of internal DNS traffic for filtering, and only 12% collect DNS logs and correlate through machine learning.

“In this era of key IT initiatives like IoT, edge, SD-WAN and 5G, DNS should play a much larger role in the security ecosystem,” observes Ronan David, VP of Strategy for EfficientIP. “It offers valuable information that can make security strategies against hackers much more proactive and preventative. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the need to shore up DNS defenses, when any network or app downtime has major business implications.”

There are several ways that companies can make better use of DNS with threat intelligence and user behavioral analytics, to enhance attack protection capacity. A DNS security solution can feed SIEMs and SOCs with actionable data and events, thus simplifying and accelerating detection and remediation. Of companies surveyed, 29% used Security and Event Management (SIEM) software to detect compromised devices, and 33% of companies passed DNS information to SIEM for analysis (up from 22% in 2019).

The complete 2020 Global DNS Threat Report is available online. Access the full report here.

Sponsored Recommendations

imVision® - Industry's Leading Automated Infrastructure Management (AIM) Solution

May 29, 2024
It's hard to manage what you can't see. Read more about how you can get visiability into your connected environment.

Global support of Copper networks

May 29, 2024
CommScope designs, manufactures, installs and supports networks around the world. Take a look at CommScope’s copper operations, the products we support, our manufacturing locations...

Adapt to higher fiber counts

May 29, 2024
Learn more on how new innovations help Data Centers adapt to higher fiber counts.

Going the Distance with Copper

May 29, 2024
CommScopes newest SYSTIMAX 2.0 copper solution is ready to run the distanceand then some.