What is DNS Monitoring and Why is it Important?

What is DNS Monitoring?

DNS monitoring is what is done to manage and ensure the security of the back and forth communication between browser users and the websites and services they are using. Whether your company is responsible for managing one or multiple website domains, DNS monitoring can help to quickly diagnose any issues, prevent targeted attacks, and readily identify any security breaches that might occur.

Effective DNS monitoring consists of regularly checking DNS records for any unexpected changes or localized outages (whether due to manual error or hackers). This allows your team to quickly identify and resolve any issues that may negatively impact your website or the security of your users needing to access your website.

Why is DNS Monitoring Important?

An effective system of DNS monitoring is critical to the reliability of your website, as well as the security and trust of your users.

Because the DNS is a popular target for hackers, it’s important to keep a close eye for any malicious attacks on your domains and services. Common attacks include:

  • DNS Poisoning. When a hacker inserts their own false information into your DNS cache, which could be used to reroute users to a spoofed version of your website or collect their private data, such as credit card numbers.
  • DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) and DoS (Denial of Service) Attacks. When either one (DoS) or multiple (DDoS) computers attempt to crash a website or service due to excessive requests.

Without DNS monitoring, your website and its users are more susceptible to the above attacks, which can lead to significant issues like unplanned downtime, unhappy users whose private information could be compromised, and ultimately lost revenue and a bad brand reputation.

DNS monitoring is critical to maintaining credibility of your servers and avoiding security breaches. It’s equally important to the safety of your users as it is the safety and security of your websites and services.

How to Monitor Your DNS Server

When monitoring your own DNS server, there are several critical things to keep an eye on:

  1. IP Address or Addresses. As mentioned above, the IP address is what your browser converts a website’s domain name to in order to properly display the site to the user. A DNS query to ensure the IP address in the system matches the IP address you provide can help to quickly notify you of a possible spoof or error.
  2. SOA Record. Your SOA (Start of Authority) Record contains a serial number that is updated whenever a change within your DNS occurs. Knowing a change has been made can help you prevent a possible attack.
  3. MX and SRV Records. Your company’s MX and SRV records are responsible for handling your emails and communications. Monitoring these are critical to avoiding any loss of email/communication records and could help prevent attacks such as rerouting messages.
  4. NS Records. Monitoring your NS (nameserver) records will help catch any tampering with your primary or backup records. Directly testing these nameservers will also help to ensure they are responding correctly for users.

Once you know what to look for and have regular checks in place for critical aspects of your DNS server, it’s important to also be testing your DNS from everywhere. There are many third-party services that can be used to test from a large network of locations, allowing you to identify any non-localized issues that could be affecting a large portion of your users.

Protect Your Network with DNS Monitoring

DNS monitoring is incredibly important whether you are managing one or many websites. It helps keep your services secure, and your users safe and happy.