Recently, more and more attackers exploit the vulnerabilities of DNS to seize valuable data and information. In this guide from MiniTool Website, we will show you the nuts and bolts of DNS attacks and provide you with some tricks and tips to mitigate them. Let’s move to the topic right now!  

What Is a DNS Attack?    

DNS, short for Domain Name System, is one of the foundations of the internet. It works in the background to match the names of websites that you type into the search bar with the corresponding IP addresses. You can regard it as the phonebook of the internet. In other words, DNS translates domain names to IP addresses so web browsers can load internet resources.

what is DNS attack

However, there are some vulnerabilities in the Domain Name System that attacks might find. As soon as they exploit these security holes, a DNS attack will occur. After that, the attackers may gain remote access to a target server, steal data, lead you to visit fraudulent sites, propose malicious content, spread scams or malware, perform Distributed Denial of Service attacks, steal your domain name and so on.

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Types of DNS Attacks

Usually, the attackers attempt to exploit and intercept legitimate communications between the servers and the clients. Also, they may use the stolen information to log in to your DNS server or redirect your DNS records.

As mentioned above, DNS attacks are so harmful that you must take them seriously. Before taking any solutions, let’s delve into the six major types of DNS attacks - DNS amplification attack, DNS flood attack, DNS tunneling attack, DNS NXDOMIAN attack, DNS poisoning attack and DNS rebinding attack.

DNS Amplification Attack

DNS amplification attacks can perform Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) on the targeted server. Normally, the attackers make use of a publicly accessible DNS server to flood a target with DNS response traffic and they send a DNS lookup request to the open server with the source address spoofed to be the target address. As soon as the DNS server sends the DNS record response, it will be sent to the new target that is controlled by the attacker.

Both DDoS and Dos attacks can threaten our internet and system security. Do you know what their differences are in internet connection, speed of attack, ease of detection and other aspects? See this guide - DDoS vs DoS | What’s the Difference and How to Prevent Them.

DNS Flood Attack

This type of DNS attack can use the DNS protocol to carry out a UDP (User Datagram Protocol) flood. It is aimed to make a server unavailable to real traffic by flooding the targeted servers’ resources.

The DNS servers of the target will respond to all the requests because they seem valid. Then, attackers will send massive requests to a DNS server causing a great amount of network resource consumption. As a result, even if this attacked DNS server needs to respond to legitimate DNS requests, internet access will also slow down.

Why is your internet slow for no reason? How to cope with it? See this guide for more solutions - Why Is My Internet So Slow? Here Are Some Reasons and Fixes.

DNS Tunneling Attack

DNS tunneling attack is not a direct attack on the DNS. Normal or legitimate requests only contain the necessary information to communicate between a server and a client. However, DNS tunneling attack provides a way to infect your system and establish a tunnel. What’s more, this tunnel can steal additional data and bypass most firewalls, filters, or packet capture software. 


Briefly, a DNS NXDOMAIN attack is a DDoS variant. It sends a large volume of invalid or non-existent requests to overwhelm the targeted DNS server. This activity will clog the DNS server cache quickly and then it will hind you from visiting a legitimate site.

What if you cannot access any websites through the internet? After troubleshooting the network issues using Windows inbuilt tools, you may receive an error message saying that the DNS server is not responding. Don’t worry! There are some solutions in this post - How to Fix the “DNS Server Is Not Responding” Issue on Windows 10.

DNS Poisoning Attack

DNS poisoning attack, also known as DNS cache poisoning attack or DNS spoofing attack, refers to attackers destroying a DNS server by replacing a legitimate IP address in the server’s cache with that of a fake address. It corrupts the answers stored in the cache so the subsequent request from other clients will get the fake answer and the traffic will be diverted to the malicious websites that the attackers want.

DNS Rebinding Attack

DNS rebinding attack enables attackers to bypass the web browser’s same-origin policy and make requests from one domain to another. The attack begins from a web page that performs a malicious client-side script in the browser. This type of DNS attack is so dangerous because attackers can be able to gain control of your entire home network.

DNS Attack Preventions

You must harden your DNS security to prevent attackers from modifying resolvers, transferring DNS zones and more. Although attackers can look for the vulnerabilities in your DNS and attack them, there are still some remedies to mitigate their attacks.

Keep the resolver private: make sure that your resolver is only accessible to your network users to prevent the cache from being replaced by attackers.

Monitor network traffic and data consistently: monitoring and recording the outbound and inbound queries can provide you with a more thorough forensic analysis. Also, logs generated by intrusion prevention systems, firewalls, and SIEM solutions need monitoring.

Rely on some DNS attack mitigation providers: a professional DNS attack mitigation software such as Cloudflare, Akamai, or Incapsula will help you out when suffering from DNS attacks.

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Use Multi-factor authentication: perform MFA on all the accounts that are accessible to DNS infrastructure. If the attackers gain some information about your administrator account, the second authentication factor such as a one-time password via a phone or email address will make your DNS safe and you will have more time to rescue your account.

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Hide your BIND version: BIND is a DNS server that is commonly used by many organizations. You had better set the BIND version to Forbidden because attackers can get your DNS server version easily by a remote query.

Configure your DNS against cache poisoning: you can add variability to outgoing requests to protect your organization against cache poisoning.

Implement DNSSEC: Domain Name System Security Extensions offer an additional layer of security to you with digital signatures based on public key cryptography.

Suggestion: Back up Your System with MiniTool ShadowMaker

All types of DNS attackers can lead to internet slowdown, server shutdown or system crashes. It is too late to take action when misery occurs. Therefore, you’d better take some preventive measures before your system is cracked down by attackers.

In this condition, it is necessary to back up your system in advance with third-party backup tools. Here, we strongly recommend a piece of reliable and professional backup software - MiniTool ShadowMaker for you. This convenient tool is known for providing you with one-in-all data protection and disaster recovery solutions for Windows PCs. It is compatible with Windows 11/10/8/7 and also supports Windows Server 2022/2019/2016/2012/2018.

If you need to back up files, folders, partitions, systems and even the whole disk on your Windows PCs, MiniTool ShadowMaker is a good option for you. Now, follow the steps below to start a one-click system backup with it.

Step 1. Download and install MiniTool ShadowMaker.

Free Download

Step 2. Launch it and hit Keep Trial to start the trial for free.

hit Keep Trial

Step 3. Go to the Backup page and you can choose the backup source in SOURCE and choose the storage path in DESTINATION. Since MiniTool ShadowMaker is set to back up your system by default, you only need to choose a destination path for your backup image file by clicking DESTINATION in this step.

choose the destination path

Step 4. After making your choice, you can either hit Back Up Now to start the backup task at the moment or delay the task by pressing Back Up Later. If you choose the latter, your task will remain in the Manage page. 

With a system backup image in hand, you can restore your system to its normal state even when your computer crashes or even fails to boot. After the backup process is done, go to the Tools page > Media Builder to create a bootable USB drive/DVD/CD and use this bootable media to boot your computer for system recovery.

Media Builder

If you would like to back up your valuable files on your PC, the steps are also quite simple. Just go to Backup > SOURCE > Folders and Files to choose the backup source and hit DESTINATION to choose a destination for your backup. Finally, hit Back Up Now to start the task immediately.

choose Folders and Files

In addition, MiniTool ShadowMaker boasts other powerful functions such as file sync, clone disk and automatic backup. Don’t hesitate to download it to start your data protection journey now!

Free Download

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This article shows a detailed introduction to DNS attacks and some tips to prevent or mitigate DNS attacks. If your friends are also wondering about DNS attacks, click here to share this article with them.Click to Tweet

Wrapping Things up

DNS is essential to today’s internet. It allows you to access websites and exchange emails via domain names instead of a long string of numbers. Cyberattacks like DNS attacks may trigger data or privacy loss and even crack down on your PC. By prioritizing data & system safety and backing them up with MiniTool ShadowMaker in advance, you can mitigate your loss as much as possible.

Do you still have any queries about DNS attacks or MiniTool ShadowMaker? You must know how to deal with DNS attacks and how to rescue your data with MiniTool ShadowMaker now. We are glad to receive your ideas and suggestions. If necessary, contact us via [email protected], and we will reply to you as soon as possible.

DNS Attack FAQ

What is a DNS attack?

DNS attack is a kind of cyberattack that targets the availability or stability of a network’s DNS service. Attackers try to compromise a network’s DNS or exploit its inherent attributes to carry out a wider attack such as system crashes.

What is an example of a DNS attack?

In 2016, an internet Performance Management company called Dyn experienced a severe DNS attack. This attack impacts negatively a large amount of internet in the US and European. The source is made up of devices that rely heavily on the internet such as internet protocol cameras, printers, and digital video recorders.

What are some common DNS attacks?

There are six common DNS attacks: DNS amplification attack, DNS flood attack, DNS tunneling attack, DNS NXDOMIAN attack, DNS poisoning attack, and DNS rebinding attack.

Is DDoS a DNS attack?

DNS amplification attack, one of the major DNS attacks, belongs to Distributed Denial of Service attack. The attackers take advantage of the vulnerabilities in the DNS system to turn small queries into much larger preloads. Their purpose is to corrupt your servers to do what they want.

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