Domain Name System (DNS) firewalls, also known as protective DNS, which are freely available and easy to install, could prevent 33 percent of cybersecurity data breaches from occurring, research from the Global Cyber Alliance (GCA) showed.
DNS firewalls leverage threat intelligence from cybersecurity companies and/or public sources to automatically prevent users from visiting known malicious sites. Most often consumers visit a malicious site when they click on a malicious link or mistype a legitimate web address. Malicious software on a computer or phone can also cause a visit to a malicious site.
According to Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report, there were more than 11,000 confirmed data breaches collected and analyzed over the past five years. Independent researchers Shostack & Associates and Cyentia Institute working with GCA were able to determine that 3,668 of those breaches would have been potentially thwarted if users had a DNS firewall deployed.
“The constant stream of breaches has unfortunately caused many small businesses and consumers to simply accept cyber-attacks – that no matter what they do they cannot protect themselves,” said Philip Reitinger, president and chief executive of the Global Cyber Alliance. “However, there are many easy-to-implement steps that can prevent businesses and consumers from being another notch in the belt of a hacker. Our research shows that protective DNS services are among the most valuable.”
DNS firewalls might have prevented $10 billion in data breach losses from the 11,000 incidents in the past five years, according to the study. And the actual figure may be more – the researchers were unable to measure every case where a DNS firewall could have protected the victim, and their estimate of the financial impact is probably biased low.
Finally, as DNS firewalls might affect one-third of cyber incidents, and with current estimates of the scope of cybercrime, DNS firewalls might play a role in stopping $150 to $200 billion in losses every year.
DNS is the “phone directory” of the Internet as it translates human readable names like globalcyberalliance.org into computer addresses – a string of numbers otherwise known as an IP address. In order to access websites on the Internet, your computer must leverage a DNS service that is usually configured by your Internet Service Provider or your network administrator.
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