According to the IDC 2020 Global DNS Threat Report, organizations in the sector experienced an average of 11.4 attacks last year, compared to 9.5 attacks across industries. The cost of such attacks are upwards of US$5 million each. Over 8% of organizations in the telecom industry suffered costs of more than $5 million per attack.
Overall, 83% of service provider organizations experienced a DNS attack. With successful attacks averaging 79%, the consequences of such outages can be far reaching and may affect customers in a wide variety of sectors relying on 24/7 availability of networks.
The cost of an attack
Successful DNS attacks commonly resulted in in-house application downtime, experienced by 60% of organizations and cloud service downtime. Service disruptions can result in both severe brand damage and customer churn as dissatisfied subscribers of telecommunications providers may switch to competitors with a more reliable network. The report said 25% of providers experienced brand damage while almost a third (31%) reported a loss of business.
For 18% of telcos, DNS attacks resulted in the theft of sensitive customer info. This is especially concerning since a large amount of customer information is at the mercy of the network which is trusted to perform at the highest levels.
While a large share of respondents implemented comparatively blunt countermeasures to mitigate attacks, with 60% of organizations shutting down affected processes and connections and 55% disabling applications, effective solutions and strategies are starting to be implemented.
This includes Zero Trust strategies which 75% of companies are either planning, piloting or already running. Other improvements include automation of security management policies – currently adopted by 59% of telcos - and passing of valuable DNS event information to SIEM and SOC (Security Operations Centre) for helping simplify threat detection and accelerate remediation.
Considering the high frequency of attacks, telecommunications providers are increasingly acknowledging the important role DNS security plays in maintaining service continuity: 77% of organizations see DNS security as integral for their business.
Ronan David, VP of Strategy, Business Development and Marketing, EfficientIP, noted that With COVID-19 having caused a large-scale shift to remote work, telcos rely more than ever on a stable network availability and the high capacity needed to serve customer’s requests as quickly as possible.
“A successful DNS attack can have far reaching consequences – not just for the affected provider but also for its customers experiencing disruptions and outages. An effective DNS security architecture is key to fend off attacks and avoid downtimes,” he added.
Role of DNS security
DNS security will play an increasingly essential role in the 5G architecture for ensuring good user experience, as the infrastructure begins to be made available to consumers in Asia, supported by government investments.
“In Asia, DNS plays a very important role as 5G takes off in the region and turns its attention to adopting the technology with the appropriate infrastructure. This is especially so as threats develop at the same pace, if not outpace, technological developments. DNS is central to ensuring that 5G services will be available to its users, and as the technology is made available to the mass audience, especially with the latency and speed it is primed for,” says Nick Itta, VP, APAC, EfficientIP.
With 5G rollouts becoming more and more frequent, telcos would do well to prioritize DNS security as part of their overall security architecture. Next to “Zero Trust” strategies, companies can also augment their threat visibility using real-time, context-aware DNS transaction analytics for behavioural threat detection. This allows telcos to detect all threat types and prevent data theft to help meet regulatory compliance such as GDPR.