Domain Protection


What is Domain Protection?

Domain protection involves securing a website’s domain name from various online threats, ensuring its integrity and availability. It typically includes:

  • Domain Registration Security: Keeping your domain registration details up to date, using strong, unique passwords, and enabling MFA to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Privacy Protection: Using WHOIS privacy services to hide your personal information and contact details from the public WHOIS database. Replacing your personal details with generic information helps prevent domain hijacking and spam.
  • Monitoring and Alerts: Regularly checking for unauthorized changes or registrations of similar (typosquatting) domains that could be used for phishing or fraud.
  • DNS Security: Implementing DNSSEC (Domain Name System Security Extensions) to protect against DNS hijacking and other attacks.
  • Renewal Management: Ensuring your domain name is renewed on time to avoid losing domain ownership.

What are Domain-Based Cyberattacks?

Domain-based cyberattacks are malicious activities that exploit domain names and DNS (Domain Name Systems) to compromise security and trick users. Common types include:

  1. Phishing: Creating fake websites with domain names similar to legitimate ones to trick users into entering sensitive information like login credentials or financial details.
  2. Typosquatting: Registering misspelled versions of popular domain names to capture traffic intended for the legitimate site, often for malicious purposes such as phishing or spreading malware.
  3. Domain Hijacking: Gaining unauthorized access to a domain registrar account to take control of the domain, redirect traffic, or demand ransom from the legitimate owner.
  4. DNS Spoofing: Manipulating DNS records to redirect users from legitimate websites to malicious ones, often to steal information or distribute malware.
  5. DNS Amplification Attacks: Using DNS servers to launch large-scale denial-of-service (DoS) attacks by overwhelming a target with a flood of traffic, causing disruption or downtime.
  6. Subdomain Takeover: Exploiting misconfigured DNS settings to take control of subdomains, which can then be used to host malicious content or impersonate the legitimate site.
  7. Certificate Fraud: Obtaining SSL/TLS certificates to create fake websites that appear secure, tricking users into trusting and interacting with these malicious sites.

Examples of Domain-Based Attacks

  • MyEtherWallet DNS Hijacking Attack: In April 2018, MyEtherWallet users were targeted in a DNS hijacking attack. The attackers redirected users to a phishing website designed to steal cryptocurrency. By altering DNS records, they committed identity theft by capturing login credentials and private keys, resulting in the theft of approximately $150,000 worth of Ethereum.
  • British Airways Data Breach: In September 2018, British Airways experienced a significant data breach due to a domain-based attack. Attackers injected malicious scripts into the British Airways website and mobile app, capturing the personal and payment information of about 380,000 customers. The attack was executed through a technique known as a supply chain attack, where third-party components of the website were compromised to enable data theft.
  • Dyn DNS Attack: In October 2016, a massive DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack targeted Dyn, a major DNS provider. This attack involved the use of the Mirai botnet, which leveraged thousands of compromised IoT devices to flood Dyn’s servers with traffic, causing widespread disruption. As a result, numerous high-profile websites, including Twitter, Reddit, and Spotify, experienced significant downtime and accessibility issues.

How To Prevent Domain-Based Attacks

The following strategies can be used to significantly reduce the risk of domain-based attacks:

  • Domain Monitoring: Regularly monitor for domain names similar to your own that might be used for phishing.
  • Domain Registration: Proactively register common misspellings and variations of your domain name to prevent typosquatting.
  • Strong Authentication: Use strong, unique passwords and enable two-factor authentication (2FA) for domain name registrar accounts.
  • Domain Locking: Enable domain locking features that prevent unauthorized transfers and changes to your domain.
  • DNSSEC: Implement Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) to authenticate DNS responses and prevent spoofing.
  • DNS Hygiene: Regularly audit DNS records to ensure there are no orphaned or misconfigured entries.
  • Access Controls: Restrict access to DNS management to authorized personnel only.
  • Rate Limiting: Implement rate limiting to control the amount of traffic DNS servers can handle.
  • Anycast Networks: Use anycast networks to distribute traffic load and mitigate the impact of DDoS attacks.
  • DNS Server Configuration: Configure DNS servers to limit responses to known clients and prevent open resolver abuse.
  • Certificate Transparency Logs: Monitor certificate transparency logs to detect fraudulent SSL/TLS certificates issued for your domains.
  • HSTS and HPKP: Implement HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) and Public Key Pinning (HPKP) to ensure browsers only accept valid certificates.