What is DNS Filtering and Why Is It a Vital Part of Cybersecurity?

Any good cybersecurity strategy has several different layers. One layer might protect your network from malicious traffic, another may help stop phishing and spam from getting to use inboxes, and another might address mobile device security.

You can think of those IT security layers like a security system in a bank. There are locks on the doors, surveillance cameras, security guards on site, and locks on the bank vault. All working together to ensure the security of the assets inside the building.

Without one of those systems, the bank’s assets can be vulnerable to being stolen.

The same is true of the cybersecurity measures and managed services in place to protect your business data. If one of the vital safeguards is missing, it leaves you vulnerable to a data breach and the consequences that follow.

60% of small businesses end up closing their door within 6 months of a data breach.

One of the most important layers to combat phishing and web-based cyberattacks is DNS filtering, which is also called “web protection.”

DNS filtering is a method of identifying and blocking malicious websites that may contain ransomware or malware. This type of safeguard can even prevent a malware infection after the user clicks a malicious link.

DNS stands for Domain Name Service, which is the mechanism that translates a website’s IP address full of digits to the www address that you type in. DNS filtering is basically controlling access to websites based upon security protocols and user settings.

What Makes DNS Filtering So Important?

One way that hackers have learned to get their phishing emails past email security filters is to use a URL to a malicious website rather than attaching a file. When there’s a file attachment, an antivirus is much more likely to catch a dangerous email.

Approximately 69% of phishing emails use a URL rather than a file attachment. Another concerning statistic is that in 2018, 98% of attacks that made it into user inboxes contained no malware, they were either email scams or credential theft scams using malicious links.

A common scam sends users to a fake login page to something like an Office 365 account and is designed to steal the username and password.

Without a way to block the malicious sites that users may be sent to from a phishing email, a company is vulnerable to having ransomware or another form or malware downloaded into their system.

Benefits of DNS Filtering

Here are some of the key benefits of using DNS filtering in your cybersecurity toolbox.

Protection from Malware

With phishing scammers favoring website links rather than file attachments in their emails, most of the malware infecting systems now due to phishing emails comes from a user being fooled and accidentally clicking on a malicious link.

DNS filtering will block the dangerous site and redirect the user to a warning page instead that lets them know they were about to visit a malicious webpage.

Block Unproductive Websites

You may not want your employees to be able to visit certain websites while at work that are unproductive, such as entertainment streaming sites or social media sites. DNS filtering gives you the ability to blacklist sites, which will block anyone on your network from being able to access them.

Approximately 36% of employers block social media use at work.

Control Bandwidth

If you have a certain user that’s uploading or downloading large files, it can mean slowdowns for everyone else on your network.

You can control how much bandwidth a user can use at a time by using DNS filtering settings that control bandwidth usage on or time-limit certain websites.

Block Questionable Websites

If an employee visits an illegal website while on your company network, it can mean trouble for them and for you. You can nip website-related HR problems in the bud by blocking illegal or questionable websites using DNS filtering to blacklist them so they’re not accessible from your network.

Prevent Credential Theft

Credential theft has become a major attack type used in phishing campaigns, and Office 365 is a high-value target due to access to cloud storage and user email accounts. 40% of enterprises have experienced the theft of an Office 365 user login.

These credential thefts usually come in the form of a phishing email with a link to a malicious site that has a fake account login form. DNS filtering can block the spoofed page and let your users know it’s a trick, so they can alert others in the office to the scam.

Do You Have All the IT Security Layers You Need?

Unbound Digital can do a full cybersecurity assessment of your current protections and let you know of any vulnerabilities and how to address them.

Contact us today to schedule a free cybersecurity consultation. Call 423-335-2461 or reach us online.

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