Why you should care about DNS

Recently, the DNS world has seen a slew of DDoS attacks, internal errors, and DNS attacks plaguing everyone from small businesses to ISP’s. Of course, you’re wondering “what does this have to do with me?” and if you don’t run a business based on eCommerce, then I don’t blame you. However, what most people don’t realize is DNS runs the internet. It is the foundation upon which every website depends on in order to connect with users like you. If you’re trying to stream a video, Tweet your awesome selfie, or even send a text message and the DNS for these services were to go down…

… you’re back to the Stone Age (hate to say I told you so!).

So, how do we prevent outages like these? The best way to go about this is to examine past outages, denials of service, attacks, and slowed response times. Now this is a very broad and long study, but we’re going to chop it down to three historically important examples which actually happened to companies you’ve come to depend on.

tesla hackedTHAT’S NOT MY HOMEPAGE!

Probably the most famous of these attacks occurred just a few months ago in April 2015. The Tesla Motors website and network went down due to a phishing attack. Hackers reportedly “hijacked” their DNS network and were able to redirect the Tesla Motors homepage to a crude photoshopped collage of random celebrities? (We weren’t sure how to phrase that, but see it for yourself below!)

SHOULDA COULDA WOULDA:

This could have easily been avoided through the use of Multi-Factor Authentication which adds extra layers of security over the default single layer. MFA is one of the most cost-effective avenues businesses can use to protect digital assets, customer data and proprietary information. While this technology has been around a few years now, Tesla Motors along with many other companies lacked outsourced DNS to a provider that offered or promoted this crucial feature. And it wasn’t until Spencer Breslin’s face was plastered across their homepage that Multi-Factor Authentication became the go-to solution for IT pros.

BEHIND THE OUTAGE:

Another outage which smothered headlines across the web (or on newspapers for those who were affected) was the great Comcast DNS outage of June 2015. Twitter was blowing up with reports of users unable to access websites. Comcast soon replied with a post on their website saying that some of their servers were overloaded for some “unexpected reason,” forcing queries to be redirected to other server centers. However this forced service to slow to a crawl, prompting many users to outsource their DNS.

WHAT SHOULD’VE HAPPENED:

When a server goes down, whether it’s out of date or just unable to handle the load, there are many different options for you to create a backup plan. For example, if one of your servers were to fail you could set up Failover Services and Monitoring which ensure that you will be alerted when one of your servers is down for a set period of time, and traffic will be transferred to a designated server. Other options include Secondary DNS, Round Robin (weighted or unweighted), and you can even pair these features with the Global Traffic Director.

APPLE WHO?

Probably one of the most infamous, as it affected millions of people back in March 2015, was the DNS error that shut down iTunes and the Apple store. According to Apple, the eight hour long outage was a result of a “DNS error.” While this might seem vague… okay it’s really vague, but there’s learning potential from this. We’ve seen many dynamic outages just like this spanning the last few years from eCommerce business like iTunes to even DNS providers and web hosting providers.

THE BIG PICTURE

These incidents serve as case and point on why you should always outsource your DNS. Even business giants like Apple and GoDaddy go down, but why should you? Take the time to research and compare DNS providers, because if you make the wrong choice and you survive off ecommerce… well, it’s just not pretty. Look for features you NEED, not add-on’s that’ll boost your account rep’s commissions. And most importantly, never hesitate to ask WHY? It’s never too late to learn more about your investment in your outsourced DNS services.

DNS Made Easy is a subsidiary of Tiggee LLC, and is a world leader in providing global IP Anycast enterprise DNS services.

Also published on Medium.