DNSSEC fueling new wave of DNS amplification attacks

DNS amplification attacks swelled in the second quarter of this year, with the amplified attacks spiking more than 1,000% compared with Q2 2018, according to Nexusguard.

DNS amplification attacks

Researchers attributed Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) with fueling the new wave of DNS amplification attacks, which accounted for more than 65% of the attacks last quarter according to the team’s evaluation of thousands of worldwide DDoS attacks.

DNSSEC was designed to protect applications from using forged or manipulated DNS data, and its growing adoption suggests that DNS amplification risks won’t disappear for service providers or enterprise networks anytime soon.

According to the quarterly report, Paypal.com and multiple government domains fell victim to rampant DNS abuses, likely due to many of these domains deploying DNSSEC to the top-level .gov domain, as required by the U.S. government’s mandate from the Office of Management and Budget.

When blocking DNS amplification attacks, it’s not realistic to drop all DNS associated traffic, since users rely on DNS services to access the Internet, and the tactic could deny service to paying customers.

Researchers warn that service providers must ensure their attack mitigation technology is advanced enough to ensure server availability to legitimate end users, to ensure their access doesn’t become collateral damage.

DNS amplification attacks

“Although the adoption of DNSSEC is gaining wider acceptance as the patch for fixing DNS cache poisoning, it is now causing a new set of problems for organizations and service providers,” said Juniman Kasman, CTO for Nexusguard.

“Due to the long responses they generate, attackers often abuse DNSSEC to launch amplification attacks that clog victim networks and hosts, which will remain a significant threat in the future.”

Findings also confirm that “bit and piece” attacks continued to spread this quarter, adopted for attacks across Europe, North America and Africa. Mobile devices also continued to contribute to DDoS attacks, which primarily originated from iOS mobile devices in addition to botnet-hijacked Windows machines.

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DNSSEC fueling new wave of DNS amplification attacks