Global DNS Threat Report 2021 Reveals Scope and Impacts of DNS Attacks


During the COVID-19 pandemic, the financial sector suffered the highest costs per DNS attack, compared to other industries. This was revealed in the Global DNS Threat Report 2021, a study recently published by EfficientIP and International Data Corporation (IDC).

Damage in the financial services industry costs nearly $ 1.1 million per attack, while the average cost across all industries for the organizations surveyed is $ 950,000. While the average cost in the industry has decreased slightly from last year, organizations in the financial industry remain an attractive target for DNS attacks due to the high volume of sensitive customer and financial data.

The report found that 91% of financial institutions have experienced at least one DNS attack. Affected businesses have suffered an average of 8.3 attacks over the past 12 months, which is above the global average of 7.6. attacks. Institutions surveyed also reported that it takes 6.12 hours to mitigate each attack on average, which is above the industry average of 5.62 hours. Attacks on financial institutions not only harm the businesses targeted by malicious actors, but have a broader implication for economies and therefore can have a pervasive negative impact.

The financial sector is the sector most likely to experience phishing attacks (55% of financial institutions) and DNS-based malware (42%). Other notable types of DNS attacks reported were distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks (35%), DNS tunneling (30%), domain hijacking (30%) as well as zero day vulnerabilities (26 %).

In addition to high damage costs, the most common ramifications reported by organizations surveyed were cloud service downtime (52%) and application downtime (52%), which can lead to severe financial loss. because they hamper urgent transactions in the increasingly digitalized financial ecosystem. . Additionally, businesses reported brand damage (23%), compromised websites (43%), and stolen customer information (24%) such as bank details or credit card information. These effects can seriously undermine the trust of end users in the organizations concerned. Data exfiltration through DNS is very common and almost always goes unnoticed by firewalls because they are unable to perform the necessary contextual analysis of traffic.

According to the report, 78% of financial services institutions surveyed have turned to Zero Trust initiatives and are planning, implementing or adopting them. 79% think DNS domain deny and allow lists are very useful for Zero Trust because they help control which users can access which applications. Additionally, 55% of financial institutions recognized the importance of DNS security to protect remote workers, a factor that has become particularly important during the pandemic. It is also the sector most likely to consider implementing a private DoH (DNS over HTTPS), with 56% of institutions surveyed saying so (versus 51% across all sectors). A private DoH solution ensures that all DNS traffic for users and devices uses the organization’s infrastructure, allowing for better security, filtering, and observability. Like many other industries, the financial sector believes in the essential role that DNS security plays in its protection against attacks (77% of institutions surveyed agree with this statement). This underlines the central role that DNS security plays and underlines it as one of the key investment areas within the financial industry to ensure safe and reliable operations.

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