Internet gatekeeper warns of 'ongoing and significant' DNS attacks

It's urging tighter security for web domains.

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Jon Fingas
February 24, 2019 11:52 PM
Erik Isakson via Getty Images
Erik Isakson via Getty Images

If you ask one key organization, part of the internet's very backbone is under assault. ICANN, the company vital to managing many internet addresses, has warned of "ongoing and significant" risks to the Domain Name System infrastructure. There have been escalating reports of attacks on DNS, ICANN said, including hijacking attempts that point domain visitors to rogue servers. Some of these appear to have been state-sponsored attacks from Iran, while others have targeted the US as well as friendlier countries like Lebanon and the UAE.

The outfit believes there's a solution for at least some of these attacks. In many cases, the use of DNSSEC (Domain Name System Security Extensions) would help lock down domains with signatures verifying that they point you to the right destination. While these don't make it impossible to spoof DNS, they make it considerably more difficult.

ICANN hopes to foster support through a meeting in Kobe, Japan starting March 9th. That event likely won't lead to a turnaround by itself. However, it will underscore the need to do something -- especially when it's doubtful attackers are about to let up in their bid to compromise the internet.

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