What Is DNS Filtering & How Does It Protect Your Network?

What Is DNS Filtering & How Does It Protect Your Network?

Over the last 12 months, the number of phishing sites has increased 27%. As of January 2021, Google registered over 2 million of them.

Malicious sites containing malware and phishing sites designed to steal credit card or login details are proliferating, along with cyberattacks in general. This has made for an even more dangerous online landscape for businesses and company networks.

One reason for the rise in dangerous websites is that phishing attackers now use URLs in a majority of their traps. Companies have become wise to malware hidden in file attachments, and many users know not to open unknown attachments.

But users are more trusting of clicking a link, which has led phishing attackers to use them a majority of the time. In a simulated phishing study, 43.3% of users clicked on at least one of 21 phishing email links.

What can happen when you click on a phishing link? Here are a few scenarios:

  • Users can land on a page that has malware embedded and injects their system and your network with ransomware or other types of malware.
  • Someone can be fooled into entering their login details to your web server, thinking they are logging in to fix an issue, and give the hacker complete control over your server.
  • Users can be tricked by a spoofed page designed to steal anything entered into a form – credit card details, login details, company FEIN and bank account information, etc.
  • A JavaScript infection of a webpage, web application, or even an online PDF document can infect a system with malware.

One of the most powerful tools for protecting against visits to malicious websites is DNS Filtering.

What Does DNS Filtering Do?

DNS filtering is a system that sits between your users’ browsers and the internet. It acts as an “online security guard” by checking out each URL a person is attempting to visit before directing their browser to that page.

If the DNS filter finds a dangerous website, then instead of allowing the site to load in the user’s browser (potentially infecting their system with malware), it redirects them to a warning page that the site is dangerous.

How a DNS Filter Works

DNS stands for Domain Name System, which is something like the internet’s phone book. Websites are assigned an IP address which consists of a series of numbers. Because trying to remember 444.22.11.556 is much more difficult than “Amazon.com”, the IP addresses are matched to the domain name of the website.

The DNS system performs this action and directs your browser to the IP address for the Amazon website when you type in the domain name.

A DNS filtering program steps in before your browser can be redirected and looks at both the domain name and the IP address that it’s directing to. It matches that against a block list, which is a known list of malicious websites.

If the site a user is trying to visit is on that list, the DNS filter sends them to a warning page explaining why the site is dangerous and is blocked.

DNS filtering can block up to 88% of online malware before it makes it to a company’s network.

Where Does a Block List Come From?

Teams of cybersecurity specialists compile the website blocklists that DNS filters use to protect company networks. Added to the list are online destinations that have been found to:

  • Be directly involved in bad behavior, such as spending spam, hosting phishing websites, distributing malware, etc.
  • Have a bad reputation based upon past IP or domain involvement with internet-based attacks.

The organizations compiling blocklists look at approximately 3 million domains and 18,000 malware samples each day.

Benefits of using DNS Filtering for Your Users

Reduced Risk for Your Company

Because of the popularity of fake phishing websites and malware sites among cyber attackers, a company needs to defend against these types of threats.

Having all your users use a DNS filter can protect your company network from ransomware, spyware, data breaches, and other costly incidents, even after a user clicks a phishing link in an email.

DNS filtering is an important way to keep both in-office and remote workers more secure.

Protects Login Credentials

Theft of login credentials is one of the main goals of phishing attacks. They’ll contain a link to a fake login page that looks just like a Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace login.

Once a user’s cloud application credentials are compromised, the attacker can access any company cloud storage the account is connected to, stealing documents or infecting the cloud system with malware.

77% of cloud account breaches in 2019 were due to compromised login credentials.

DNS filtering keeps employees from being fooled by known phishing websites that are cleverly faked to look like the real thing.

Improves Productivity

One more benefit of using DNS filtering at your business is that it gives you the ability to block non-productive or inappropriate sites that employees don’t need to be using while at the office.

This may include certain social media sites, pornographic sites, or other content that you’d like blocked from your company network.

Protect Your Business With a DNS Filtering Solution

C Solutions can help your Orlando area business put a reliable DNS filtering solution in place to protect your network from multiple online threats.

Schedule a free consultation today! Call 407-536-8381 or reach us online.