How to Interpret the EU’s Guidance on DNS Abuse Worldwide

From higher standards in top-level domains to increased adoption of security controls, stepped-up measures can help fight DNS abuse and protect Web domains.

When the European Union introduced General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) guidance several years ago to address privacy concerns, it became the genesis of a worldwide movement that led to an increased focus on privacy issues. Similarly, the EU recently released guidance on a security issue that still doesn’t get the focus that it should — DNS abuse.

The Domain Name System (DNS) is a hierarchical and decentralized naming system used to identify computers, services, and other resources reachable through the Internet or other Internet Protocol (IP) networks. Specifically, DNS abuse is any activity that makes use of domain names or the DNS protocol to carry out harmful or illegal activity. Malicious activities on the DNS have been a frequent and serious issue for years, affecting online security, undermining trust on the Internet, and causing harm to users and third parties. This type of abuse also includes cybersecurity threats and the distribution of illegal and harmful materials.

While many organizations are aware of traditional approaches to cybersecurity, the one area that consistently gets ignored is maintaining and protecting Web domains. Inaction leads to issues such as DNS hijacking, which redirects employees, partners, and customers to sites that put them at risk or steal sensitive data. When legitimate domains are compromised, cybercriminals bypass traditional security, making it more difficult to identify, mitigate, and block such users. Fraudsters also use malicious domains (e.g., homoglyphs or confusingly similarly named domains or subdomains) and email spoofing to commit fraud and intellectual property abuse.

To date, there is no global consensus on what should be done to prevent or fight DNS abuse, and there are no policies in place to hold domain registrars to higher validation standards in terms of ownership. Upholding and preserving a reliable, resilient, and secure DNS is a key factor in maintaining the integrity of the Internet and is essential for its continuous and stable operation, on which the digital economy and society depend.

To address this, the European Commission recently conducted a study and issued this report, which assessed the scope, impact, and magnitude of DNS abuse, and also provided input for possible policy measures based on identified gaps. Analysis was completed of the available data and the report proposed a set of recommendations to prevent, detect, and mitigate DNS abuse.

DNS Report Takeaways
While this report is compelling and provides guidance to follow, there are key components of it that enterprises should home in on when looking to improve the domain security posture of their organization. Specifically, the report recommends the following: Read more:

You can also read this: Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi Without DNS Filtering

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