Telcos scramble to mitigate DNS attacks

DNS (Domain Name System) services are the most attacked part of telcos’ networks during the pandemic, but cloud protection is the hardest to deliver, according to the Telecoms.com Annual Industry Survey.

Of 500 telecoms professionals questioned for the survey, 16 per cent said DNS services suffered the most attacks, followed by attacks on network infrastructure elements like network bandwidth and network protocols (15 per cent).

Attacks on on-premise applications and infrastructure represented the third biggest threat (11 per cent).

When asked how they were tackling DNS security, 47 per cent said they were focusing on defending against volumetric DNS DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks.

This correlates with recent network data from Nokia, which shows DDoS traffic soared by up to 50 per cent during the first peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The second most broadly used defensive strategy was to safeguard against Advanced DNS attacks, such as DNS random subdomain attacks (39 per cent).

This was followed by protecting against DNS protocol attacks, such as malformed DNS packets (38 per cent) and DNS tunnelling (34 per cent).

But despite DNS services being most prominent in attackers’ crosshairs, they are not viewed as the most difficult to protect.

For 24 per cent of respondents, cloud-based apps and cloud infrastructure currently represent the biggest security headaches.

Network infrastructure elements (21 per cent) and on-premise applications and infrastructure (18 per cent) were ahead of DNS services in fourth spot (12 per cent) when it came to protection difficulty - indicating either maturity of DNS service defensive measures or a general underestimation of the challenge, said Telecoms.com

Three-quarters (76 per cent) of respondents said their company's security spending would either be maintained or increased in the next year.

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