DNS Hijacking : What Is It & How It Can Affect You?
Internet fully relies on DNS. The DNS stands for Domain Name System. Each and every website on the internet has an IP address, but remembering those numbers is quite difficult for all of us. Domain Name System (DNS) assigns alphanumeric names to the IP addresses which are easy to remember. The IP address consist of numbers such as 192.168.20.1 which give the domain a unique identification.
An IP address is unique so it can be use to trace internet activity back to PC user. Domain names are used to identify websites because they are easy to remember. You don’t to remember all IP addresses.
What Is DNS Hijacking?
DNS Hijacking is a type of malicious attack in which you are directed to the website that you have never requested. If your DNS is hijacked, then you might be redirected to some other site or fake webpage while accessing different site. For example, if you are trying to open Facebook.com by typing it into browser, you might be directed to fake Facebook login page or any other site with full of ads.
Hackers do this attack either to steal your sensitive information or to generate clicks on their ads. Hackers use malware or malicious software to override your computer’s TCP/IP settings that include DNS settings.
This attack is done by the use of malicious software or by changing the settings of the server. Once the attacker performing the DNS Hijacking have control of the DNS, they can use it to direct traffic to different sites.
DNS Hijacking involves infecting computers with DNS Trojan attacks or Malwares. This attack also hacks certain websites and change their DNS addresses so that visitors from these websites end up visiting completely different destination.
How Does DNS Hijacking Works?
Now that you understand what is DNS Hijacking and it’s time to learn how does it works.
The DNS maps domain name to its corresponding IP address. Every website is hosted somewhere on server and each of this server has its own IP address which corresponds to its location. It means, if a website is located on a particular server, then it will have a unique IP address. If you enter that particular IP address into address bar of your browser, you will be taken to that desire website.
But it is impossible to remember IP address of every website. That is where DNS comes into picture, which translate IP address into alphanumeric domain name. domain names are easy to remember. When you try to opening Facebook.com, DNS does its job and matches this domain name with its IP address and then the desire website is presented to you.
When your computer’s DNS setting is hijacked, you probably end up visiting completely different websites that you have not requested. When your PC get infected by DNS Hijacking, hacker succeeds in changing your PC’s DNS settings and it will no longer have the ability to correctly make the connection between a domain name and its original IP address. Which means you will be directed to the fake websites.
Why DNS Hijacking Used?
Now you know how does DNS Hijacking takes place, it is also important to know the reasons behind DNS Hijacking is used.
Most of ISP’s use this technique. Many ISP’s use this technique so that when you visit a non-existed website, you will be redirected to collection of links. They say that they do it for better user experience, but it is completely false. They do this to increase their revenue.
If you type the URL of a website which is no longer available or doesn’t exist, instead of seeing error message you will be redirected to a different website.
Hijacked DNS Can Be Used For Pharming
Pharming is a process in which people generate more clicks and impressions for increasing their earning from ads. Actually, this is spamming. Once your DNS is hijacked, even if you open any genuine site, you will be redirected to some fake websites filled with a lot of ads. People do this to earn more from those ads.
This is very annoying. You won’t be able to access the websites that you want to open, because they will redirected you to collection of fake sites with ads.
Hijacked DNS Can Be Used For Phishing
Phishing means designing fake website to steal your sensitive information such as username, passwords, emails, credit card details etc.
For example, hackers might create a fake webpage that exactly look like your Facebook login page. When they hijack your DNS, they redirect you to their fake site instead of real Facebook login page. You don’t know anything and you enter your login credentials and hit enter. Nothing will happen because that site is fake but your login details that you entered are send to the attacker.
That’s why you should check every website’s URL before proceeding. Otherwise you will be in big trouble.
How To Protect Your System From DNS Hijacking?
There are many ways you can protect your computer from DNS Hijacking.
- Keep your router’s firmware updated.
- Change your router’s password regularly.
- You can use VPN while accessing the internet to hide your DNS requests. While you surf on the internet, there are many ways to map the IP address. VPN helps you hide your actual IP address that adds more security to you.
- Install good antivirus software on your computer.
- Do not click on malicious links, because when you click on any malicious link Malware and Trojan get install on your computer without your knowledge. This malware can change your DNS settings, so be careful.
- You can use any third party DNS than using your default ISP’s DNS.
When you access the internet, DNS plays very important role on your computer. So it is very important to keep your DNS settings safe from hackers.
If you any queries or suggestions then please let me know in the comment section.
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