Data exfiltration, also known as data extraction or export, refers to the unauthorized transfer of data from a computer. Malware and malicious actors often carry out this form of data theft, which has damaged consumer confidence, intellectual property, and national security since 2000. The transfer of data could be done manually by a person with physical access to the computer or automatically by malware over a network. A recent survey revealed that about 46% of respondents had experienced a data exfiltration attack, and 45% were affected by DNS tunneling, which is often used as a method of data exfiltration. Security teams should focus on DNS to block data exfiltration attempts.
What is Data Exfiltration?
Data exfiltration, also known as data extraction or data export, refers to the movement of data from a computer system without authorization. This can be carried out by malware or a malicious actor, and is considered a form of data theft. Data exfiltration attempts have been responsible for damaging consumer confidence, corporate valuation and intellectual property, as well as national security of governments worldwide.
How does Data Exfiltration Occur?
Data can be extracted manually by someone with physical access to the computer or automatically through a network using malware. DNS tunneling, a technique that involves using the DNS protocol to forward network traffic, has been used as a common method of data exfiltration. In fact, a recent DNS security survey found that almost half of respondents had been affected by data exfiltration, with almost the same percentage affected by DNS tunneling through DNS port 53.
Why is DNS Security Important in Preventing Data Exfiltration?
Hackers often use DNS to bypass firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDS) and next-generation intrusion prevention systems (IPS). The DNS protocol is often left open and can be easily exploited for exfiltration attempts. As a result, security teams must focus on DNS security to prevent data exfiltration.
How Can DNS Security Help Block Data Exfiltration?
DNS security can be strengthened by implementing domain name system security extensions (DNSSEC) and intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS), as well as by configuring DNS to use different ports and enabling response rate limiting to mitigate DNS-based distributed denial-of-service attacks. Additionally, organizations should conduct regular audits on their DNS servers to detect and eliminate vulnerabilities.
In Ultimately, data exfiltration is a serious cyber security threat that can cause significant harm to organizations. DNS security is crucial in preventing data exfiltration attempts, and security teams should take appropriate measures to strengthen their DNS security and mitigate the risk of data exfiltration.