What is Domain Hijacking? And How to Avoid It!

Estimated read time 13 min read

Introduction

So, you’ve built a website and it’s time to get it online. You register your domain name, pay for hosting, and begin creating content. Then one day you log into your site and find that it’s been hijacked by someone else! This is called domain hijacking, and while it may seem like an obscure internet threat that only affects small websites or people with less savvy about how their website works, the reality is that everyone can be vulnerable to this kind of attack if they aren’t careful. In this article we’ll cover what domain hijacking is as well as how to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of such an attack.

What is domain hijacking?

Domain hijacking is when a domain name is stolen from the rightful owner. It can happen to anyone, but it’s more common with smaller websites that don’t have as much protection in place.

If you’re thinking this sounds like a crime that only happens in movies, you’d be wrong! In fact, there are several ways people hijack domains:

  • Phishing emails – these are emails from “legitimate” websites asking for your login information and sometimes even bank account details. These links often lead to fake websites that look like their real counterparts
  • Malware – malware is software designed to steal information or damage your device in some way (like stealing passwords). Malware may also be used to redirect users to phishing sites or other malicious sites through redirects or pop-up ads
  • Social engineering – this is when someone impersonates another person over the telephone or email in an attempt to gather sensitive information from them

Why do people want to hijack domains?

When a domain is hijacked, it’s usually because someone wants to use it for malicious purposes. The most common reason is ransom- they’re trying to get money out of you.

Another reason why people hijack domains is to steal the domain and use it for malicious purposes (e.g., phishing). This can be done using DNS poisoning or by changing the MX records of an email server in order to redirect emails away from your inbox and into theirs.

If you’re worried about this happening, there are steps you can take before registering a new domain name:

How do people (successfully) hijack domains?

As we’ve already established, the most common way to hijack a domain is through phishing. In this type of attack, someone sends an email or SMS to the owner of a given website which prompts them to click on some link or download something malicious onto their computer. The goal is for that user to get into the account and change the DNS settings in order to point it somewhere else (the bad guy’s server).

While phishing can work on its own, it’s usually done in combination with other techniques like spear phishing and social engineering. Spear phishing targets specific people within an organization (for example: CEOs) and uses details about them personally (such as their favorite restaurant), while social engineering leverages information gleaned from researching people online in order to win their trust via phone calls, emails or text messages.

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Hijackers also use brute force attacks where they try every possible combination of letters and symbols until they find one that works; this method is less common but more effective than most people think! Finally, attackers can hijack domains by simply finding out who owns them through Whois records—this may require only minimal information about yourself like your name, email address and domain registrar/hosting service provider—and then contacting those companies directly with requests for transfers without your permission

Some of the variations of Domain Attacks are:

Domain Attacks are the most common kind of security attacks in general. Since domains represent the first layer of defense, they are the highest risk vulnerabilities for any enterprise. Some of their variations are:

  • Dependability Attack – A dependability attack occurs when an attacker is able to bypass all other security measures and gain access to a domain by exploiting a flaw in its design or implementation. This can include flaws found in email servers, operating systems, web browsers, databases and networking equipment.
  • Flawed Cryptography Attack – A flawed cryptography attack involves an attacker taking advantage of weaknesses within cryptographic algorithms to gain access to sensitive data without authorization or authentication from authorized users (i.e., a man-in-the-middle attack). The most common example is brute forcing weak passwords until one works (this was mentioned previously).

Dependability Attack

The Dependability Attack is an attack that exploits the trust relationship between a domain controller and its domain members. It is a type of Man-in-the-Middle attack that is used to hijack a connection between two computers.

The attacker sends forged packets to both machines. One machine accepts the packets, while the other rejects them. This can occur because of:

  • Incorrect configuration settings on either computer or network devices (such as routers)
  • A misconfiguration of DNS servers in your organization

Flawed Cryptography Attack

The Flawed Cryptography attack is a variation of the Domain Attack, where the attacker’s primary goal is to exploit flaws in cryptographic algorithms and implementations. This can happen at different layers of the software stack that might involve:

  • Faulty algorithms
  • Faulty implementations (e.g., memory corruption)
  • Faulty implementations in the operating system
  • Faulty implementations in the application

Flawed cryptography attacks often target a cipher rather than a specific implementation of it, because they are unlikely to be affected by patches or upgrades unless they affect how an algorithm works.

Misconfigured Share Permissions Attack

A misconfigured share permission attack is a type of attack that uses shared folders on a server. This allows the attacker to gain access to sensitive data stored on the server. The attacker creates a directory or folder with an identical name to one already set up on your network, and then shares this new directory or folder.

The result? The user who tries to access the original directory or folder sees both directories/folders listed in their directory listing, but can only open one at a time (depending on how their browser is configured). Users may also notice an error message when they try to open files from this second copy: “Windows cannot find C:\WINDOWS\System32\System32.txt.”

In Windows Server 2003 and later you can prevent this kind of attack by using Group Policy settings in Active Directory Users And Computers (ADUC)

Misconfigured Application Security/Weak Configuration Attack

Misconfigured Application Security/Weak Configuration Attack

The misconfigured application security/weak configuration attack is a type of attack that exploits a weakness in the configuration of an application. This type of attack can occur when an administrator has not properly configured their application or has made it possible for an attacker to bypass security controls by using the default credentials or weak passwords, or by not installing updates on all systems in the network.

Brute Force or Dictionary Password Attack

Brute force attacks are a type of password attack that attempts to guess the password of a user account by using a list of possible passwords. For example, if your username is “joe” and you choose the password “12345,” a brute-force attack might try those two words, as well as “password” or even just numbers from 1–9.

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The most common brute force attacks are dictionary attacks, which use lists of words commonly found in dictionaries (e.g., the words listed below). They may also combine several wordlists together or use them in combination with complex rules for generating new passwords based on variations on existing ones (see passphrase below).

Fuzzing Attack

This attack is a type of application testing that involves sending malformed inputs to the software. The goal is to find security vulnerabilities in software.

Fuzzing can be done manually or automatically, depending on the level of automation required for each project. If you need to conduct manual testing and have no idea where to start, here are some suggestions:

  • Make sure your test cases are exhaustive—that is, they cover every possible input value and state combination—and that they’re valid according the software’s specifications (or requirements). For example, if your application accepts an integer between 1 and 10 as an input parameter but doesn’t accept values outside that range, then make sure all your tests involve integers in this range so you’re sure not to miss any inputs!
  • When writing test cases for manual fuzzing sessions with plenty of inputs involved (e.g., large files), it’s usually easiest just keep recording them one after another instead of trying figure out what exactly needs testing beforehand—but do make sure there aren’t any unexpected fails before using them later on!
What is Domain Hijacking? And How to Avoid It! read more on steffi's blog at goddyarts.com
Domain Hijacking Methods

Malicious Software Attack

  • Malicious software (or malware) is any intentionally harmful software.
  • A Trojan horse is malicious software that appears to serve a useful function but actually hides a specific, exploitive purpose. Most Trojans are delivered via email or other web traffic and take advantage of vulnerabilities in an operating system or popular application program to gain access to the computer. The term comes from the story of Troy and its wooden horse: The Greeks hid inside, then emerged at nightfall to attack their unsuspecting enemy.
  • A virus is a self-replicating program that attaches itself to other programs on your computer or mobile device, replicates itself over and over, and can spread like wildfire if you’re not careful about what you download onto your devices. Because viruses replicate themselves by attaching themselves to existing files—including ones that are critical for the proper operation of your computer—they can render your entire machine unusable within minutes if they get out of control. A good antivirus program will protect against this type of threat; however, it’s still wise not to open suspicious emails sent by unknown senders or downloaded from untrustworthy websites since this may lead directly into another type of malware called ransomware which encrypts all your data so that only paying up for decryption key(s) will allow them back again!

Web Page Defacement Attack

There are many types of domain attacks. The most common is Web Page Defacement, where the attacker will try to change the content of a website, change its domain name and/or DNS records (the information used by a computer to find websites). They may also try to change the URL (address) of a website.

DNS Poisoning or Pharming Attack

DNS Poisoning or Pharming attack is a type of Denial of Service (DoS) attack. This attack is carried out by sending an invalid response to a DNS query, which causes the attacking computer to be recognized as the legitimate server. This allows hackers to redirect traffic from legitimate websites to their own sites and gain access to sensitive information. When you visit any website, your browser sends requests through a chain of computers called DNS servers until it finds one that knows where the site lives on the Internet. If one of these machines has been compromised, it can give fake answers back instead of real ones—which means that when your browser tries to reach for example www1somedomaincom/testpage/, it will receive something like www2thesamestage/testpage instead

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NetBIOS and LLMNR Spoofing Attack

NetBIOS and LLMNR Spoofing Attack is a type of Man-in-the-Middle attack. In this attack, the attacker captures traffic on a local area network (LAN) in order to impersonate another user or service on the network. This type of spoofing attack can be used by attackers to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information or control over systems running on the same LAN segment as them.

Domain Attacks essentially compromise the domain controller’s account database, typically LSA Secrets.

Domain attacks are a type of malicious attack that compromises the domain controller’s account database, typically LSA Secrets. They can be used to steal credentials, access sensitive data and gain access to resources.

How to prevent domain hijacking

  • Use a reputable web host.
  • Register your domain in your own name.
  • Keep your contact information current at all times, including any contact information for the registrar and DNS administrator.
  • Install a malware protection program on all computers that have access to websites hosted on the server for which you are responsible, as well as any devices that may be used to access those websites from outside of your network (such as via Wi-Fi hotspots). Malware protection programs should also be installed on servers themselves if they are not already running them internally.
  • Update your website regularly, both in terms of content and functionality. This helps keep visitors coming back to see what changes have been made since their last visit—and it lets potential site visitors know that you care about keeping up with current trends!
  • Use strong passwords for all accounts associated with managing domains and websites, as well as for administrative accounts within each system in question (e.g., WordPress blogs). Password managers such as LastPass can help make this process easier by generating strong passwords automatically based on rules set by users themselves; they also offer other features like multi-factor authentication support so users don’t have worry about forgetting their passwords either!

Domain hijacking is an increasing threat

It is a threat to all internet users and can be costly if your website is hijacked and held for ransom. Use a reputable web host, register your domain in your own name, and keep your contact information current.

If you’ve registered a domain name, it’s important to know that there is a risk of your site being compromised by another party. In the event that someone takes control of your domain, or hijacks it for their own use, you will lose access to all services associated with that domain name. This can include email accounts and other features used on the website.

Domain hijacking is an increasing threat to all internet users and can be costly if your website is hijacked and held for ransom. Use a reputable web host, register your domain in your own name (not through some third party service), and keep your contact information current.

Conclusion

Don’t let domain hijacking happen to you! It’s easy enough to avoid if you take the right precautions and keep your contact information current. And even if someone else does manage to hijack your website, there are steps you can take (such as contacting law enforcement) that will hopefully get it back in good shape relatively quickly.

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