Threat Trends: Malicious DNS Activity

This analysis examines a wide variety of threat trends, with a focus on the categories that are most active.

2 Min Read
Threat trends

When it comes to security, deciding where to dedicate resources is vital. To do so, it’s important to know what security issues are most likely to crop up within your organization, and their potential impact. The challenge is that the most active threats change over time, as the prevalence of different attacks ebbs and flows.

This is where it becomes helpful to know about the larger trends on the threat landscape. Reading up on these trends can inform you as to what types of attacks are currently active. That way, you’ll be better positioned to determine where to dedicate resources.

Our Threat Trends blog series takes a look at the activity that we see in the threat landscape and reports on those trends. After examining topics such as the MITRE ATT&CK frameworkLOLBins, and others, this release will look at DNS traffic to malicious sites. This data comes from Cisco Umbrella, our cloud-native security service.

We’ll briefly look at organizations as a whole, before drilling down into the number of endpoints connecting to malicious sites. We’ll also look at malicious DNS activity—the number of queries malicious sites receive.

Overall, this can provide insight into how many malicious email links users are clicking on, how much communication RATs are performing, or if cryptomining activity is up or down. Such information can inform on where to dedicate resources, such as topics requiring security training or areas to build threat hunting playbooks.

Overview of Analysis

We’ll look at DNS queries to domains that fall into certain categories of malicious activity, and in some cases specific threats, between January and December 2020. While performing this analysis we looked at a wide variety of threat trends. We’ve chosen to highlight those that an organization is most likely to encounter, with a focus on the categories that are most active.

It’s worth noting that we’re deliberately not making comprehensive comparisons across categories based on DNS activity alone. The fact is that different threat types require varying amounts of internet connectivity in order to carry out their malicious activities. Instead, we’ll look at individual categories, with an eye on how they rise and fall over time. Then we’ll drill further into the data, looking at trends for particular threats that are known to work together.

Click here for the full analysis.

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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