79% of organizations experienced DNS attacks, with the average cost of each attack hovering around $924,000, according to EfficientIP.
The 2020 Global DNS Threat Report, conducted in collaboration with IDC, shows that organizations across all industries suffered an average 9.5 attacks this year. 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 leads the way with the average cost of attack at $1,073,000. This is a modest decrease by about 1.36% from the year prior. And while the United States saw nearly a 4% decrease in attack damages, it still has the highest cost globally at $1,082,710.
Attackers appear to increasingly target the cloud. As the number of business-critical applications hosted in hybrid-cloud environments has increased, so has the attack surface for cybercriminals. The report shows that companies that suffered cloud service downtime increased from 41% in 2019 to 50% in 2020, a sharp growth of nearly 22%. The increased adoption of cloud services during the global COVID-19 pandemic could make the cloud even more attractive for attackers.
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—remains the most significant result of DNS attacks; of the companies surveyed, 82% said that they had experienced application downtime of some kind.
The report, now in its sixth year, shows the broad range and changing popularity of attack types ranging from volumetric to low signal. This year phishing led in popularity (39% of companies experienced phishing attempts), malware-based attacks (34%), and traditional DDoS (27%). Crucially, the size of DDoS attacks is also increasing, with almost two-thirds (64%) being over 5Gbit/s.
Despite these worrying numbers, enterprise awareness of how to combat these attacks is improving: 77% of respondents in the 2020 Threat Report deemed DNS security a critical component of their network architecture, compared to 64% in the previous year. Additionally, use of Zero Trust strategies is maturing: 31% of companies are now running or piloting Zero Trust, up from 17% last year. Use of predictive analytics has increased from 45% to 55%.
“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.”
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). 35% of organizations 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,” says Ronan David, VP of Strategy for EfficientIP. “It offers valuable information that can make security strategies against hackers much more proactive and preventative. The 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 & events, thus simplifying and accelerating detection and remediation. Of companies surveyed, 29% used SIEM software to detect compromised devices, and 33% of companies passed DNS information to SIEM for analysis (up from 22% in 2019).