We are seeing daily increases in cybersecurity attacks all around the world, especially with cyber warfare and hybrid wars that are being fought. Attackers would typically use various sophisticated techniques to try and gain control of your devices and potentially hold your data at ransom.
It is speculated that ransomware has a 200% increase in early 2023 compare to January last year, according to new report from Black Kite security research.
To better understand how attackers accomplish their goals, we firstly may familiarize ourselves with the usually attacks vectors that are carried by Black-Hat hackers.
Cybercriminals today are using generative artificial intelligence, that is increasingly difficult to distinguish from spam, in order to craft their malicious emails and using social engineering techniques like phishing to further exploit target system.
Phishing is one of the most common types of cyberattacks, accounting for 22% of the cyber incidents reported worldwide in 2021 according to statista.com
These emails often contain links that are destined to malicious domains. Once the unsuspecting victim clicks on the link there is a DNS resolution process that is happening in the background. Moreover DNS, or Domain Name System, is a system that translates human-friendly domain names like umbrella.cisco.com into numerical IP addresses that computers use to communicate.
In the figure below you can see how DNS resolution process work does in its essence.
When request is made by the user to by browsing to a website or clicking on a link, if the address is not stored in local cache it will be relayed to Domain Name System Server that will return the IP address for the same.
It is not uncommon that attacker register new domains or use dormant domains as carriers for the malicious payload, however to counter this Open DNS founded in 2012 to fight against DNS based attacks, which has been acquired by Cisco in 2015. Moreover it has few nifty solutions and utilizes Talos Intelligence to categorize these domains and mark malicious ones.
From the capture above from the Cisco Talos Intelligence, you can clearly see listed malicious domains. This list is continuously updated from millions of endpoints that detect suspicious activity. Further, reputation is assigned to each and every domain and this is how it differentiates the good from the bad domains before ever landing to destined website, hence your first layer of internet security.
DNS security is the practice of protecting your DNS infrastructure from cyberattacks. DNS is essential for accessing websites, apps, and online services, but it also exposes your network to various threats. Cisco Umbrella analyzes billions of DNS requests from millions of users across the world, using machine learning and big data analytics to identify and block malicious domains, IPs, and URLs before they can harm your network.
Content filtering allows you to customize your filtering policies based on categories, domains, or security settings, giving you granular control over what content your users can access on the internet. You can also enforce safe search and YouTube restrictions to prevent exposure to inappropriate or harmful content.
Good thing about Open DNS (Cisco Umbrella) is, that it is free forever service that can be used by anyone in the world, so we are going to demonstrate how easily it can be setup, and here is the link to their setup guide for you to follow.
There are a few different versions how this can be implemented however if you are to configure your home router just by entering OpenDNS IP address as a preferred DNS Server (188.8.131.52, 184.108.40.206) you can enjoy free DNS security Protection at instant.
To further configure more of a granular control there is an option to register for a free account and add your home network (Public IP address).
Moreover, there is an option to specifically Block some of the unwanted domains as well as allow them if required similar to the bellow figure. This is resembling to be an access control list for your domains.
Open DNS utilizes geographically distributed data centers enforce security policies for business users, parental controls for home users, and provide the fastest, most reliable DNS resolution for 65 million active users in over 160 countries daily. Another added benefit of this lies in noticeably faster resolution speed compared to Googles quad 8 DNS, that will make your browsing experience snappy and enjoyable, while staying protected at all times, from the most common to the emerging cyber threats on the internet.
To test if your configuration is working simply browse to Welcome to OpenDNS! And you will be greeted with a message stating that your internet is safer, faster and smarter!
This process only takes from 5 to 10 minutes to setup and deploy, however knowing that you have an additional layer of security in your home or organization is invaluable. In conclusion, cybersecurity attacks are a serious threat that can compromise your data and devices. By using Talos Intelligence and content filtering, it can block harmful websites and provide you with a safer and faster browsing experience.
Take action and implement your free DNS security today!