Dangling Domains: Security Threats, Detection and Prevalence

The Domain Name System (DNS) provides the naming service which maps mnemonic domain names to various resources such as IP addresses, email servers and so on. As one of the most fundamental internet components, DNS and domain names usually serve as trusted anchors for users to access desired internet resources. As a result, threat actors constantly attempt to exploit DNS for illicit online activities. In particular, many attackers try to hijack domains with benign reputations. Several well-known techniques, including cache poisoning, malicious resolvers and domain registrar account hijacking, are used to achieve domain hijacking. However, great efforts like DNSSEC have been made to strengthen the DNS ecosystem in recent decades, and these hijacking techniques have become more challenging to achieve in practice.

Instead, a recent study has shown that a largely overlooked threat in DNS – dangling DNS records – could be easily exploited for domain hijacking. In this blog, we will introduce several types of dangling DNS records and multiple techniques that can be used to exploit the dangling records. We built a detector that can actively identify dangling records from our collected DNS data.

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Source: Palo Alto