Understanding the Dangers of DNS Poisoning

Dwayne Wong (Omowale)
3 min readSep 26

DNS, which stands for Domain Name System, is a crucial component of the internet infrastructure that enables users to access websites and services using human-readable domain names instead of complex IP addresses. In simple terms, DNS acts as a phone book for the internet, translating domain names into IP addresses and directing internet traffic to the correct destinations. Without DNS, browsing the web would involve memorizing and typing in lengthy strings of numbers, making the internet far less accessible and user-friendly.

When a user types a domain name into their web browser or clicks on a link, the DNS system is set into motion. The process begins with the user’s device sending a query to a DNS resolver, which is typically provided by the user’s internet service provider (ISP) or a third-party DNS provider. The resolver then contacts the authoritative DNS server responsible for the requested domain and requests the corresponding IP address. The authoritative DNS server responds with the IP address, and the resolver returns this information to the user’s device. With the IP address in hand, the device can establish a connection with the appropriate web server and retrieve the requested content.

DNS poisoning, also known as DNS cache poisoning or DNS spoofing, is a malicious attack that manipulates the DNS resolution process. Attackers exploit vulnerabilities in the DNS system to redirect users to fraudulent websites or intercept and manipulate their internet traffic. By poisoning the DNS cache of a DNS server or compromising a user’s DNS resolver, attackers can deceive users into unknowingly visiting malicious websites that mimic legitimate ones.

While DNS poisoning is a significant threat, it is essential to understand how it differs from other types of cyber attacks. Unlike phishing attacks that trick users into revealing sensitive information, DNS poisoning manipulates the DNS system itself. It is distinct from distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks that overwhelm servers with traffic, rendering them inaccessible. Understanding these distinctions helps in implementing appropriate security measures to combat each type of attack effectively.

DNS poisoning poses significant risks to both individuals and organizations. One of the most severe consequences is the…

Dwayne Wong (Omowale)

I am a Pan-Africanist activist, historian, and author. I am also certified in CompTIA Security +