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Strengthening Your Security Through DNS Filtering: A Guide to Its Benefits

Updated: Feb 2

gloved hands at a key board with "zero-day exploits" spelled out on the keys.

New technological advancements have revolutionized how we live and work, offering unmatched convenience and connectivity. Yet, with these advancements come new challenges, and the Domain Name System (DNS), a critical component of internet functionality, has not been immune to exploitation.

While DNS makes it easier for users to access websites by name, cybercriminals have discovered ways to manipulate and exploit this system for malicious purposes.

According to a report by the Global Cyber Alliance in 2021, more than one-third of cyber attacks are executed through the Domain Name System (DNS).

This highlights the need to stay one step ahead of hackers and protect our digital world. In this guide, we will talk about the technical benefits of DNS filtering and how it can help us stay protected from cyber attacks.

What is DNS Filtering?

DNS filtering is filtering out or blocking harmful and malicious websites or content. It is also known as content-based filtering; if a site has been specified as a threat, the DNS filter blocks the IP address and prevents access.

DNS filtering ensures that sensitive data remains secure, and businesses can control what their employees can access on company-managed networks.

How Does DNS Filtering Work?

DNS filtering works as a protective shield for your organization's internet usage. It primarily focuses on content-based filtering, which means it monitors the types of websites employees can visit.

It relies on a blocklist of websites organized by their domain names or IP addresses. These blocklists are created with input from cybersecurity experts and are regularly updated to include known malicious domains and IP addresses. This helps protect against the latest cyber threats.

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Technical Benefits of DNS Filtering

There were 2.8 billion instances of malware in the first half of 2022; this does not include the 5,520,908 mobile malware and adware attacks identified in the second quarter of that year.

DNS filtering can help lower these instances. The following are some of the technical benefits that make DNS filtering essential to any effective cybersecurity plan:

Security Against Malware

Blocking traffic to known malware-spreading domains is one of the most effective measures to protect your network from malware. DNS filtering stops a device from connecting to malicious domains when it attempts to do so.

Additionally, it can effectively neutralize botnet threats by identifying and preventing connections to Command and Control servers from compromised devices.

Phishing Prevention

DNS filtering can detect and prevent efforts to visit phishing websites by analyzing DNS requests and contrasting them to databases of recognized phishing websites.

It can also monitor query patterns and identify unusual behavior, which can help prevent complex assaults like spear phishing.

Content Filtering

By blocking access to improper or unrelated sites, DNS filtering helps businesses increase productivity and decrease security risks by enforcing content restrictions.

Moreover, admins can set up specific permissions for each website in their control. For example, you can limit your time on Facebook at work or prevent all access to gambling sites.

DDoS Mitigation

DNS filtering can mitigate the effects of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) assault by diverting traffic from the attacked server while allowing legitimate users accessibility to the service.

By intelligently rerouting traffic, DNS filtering helps ensure that websites and online services are always reachable, even in high-traffic or attack circumstances.

Zero-Day Threat Protection

Zero-day attacks can significantly damage businesses; the impact can be severe, from financial loss to legal liabilities and reputational damage.

DNS filtering has a dynamic and constantly updating database of known threats that helps it detect zero-day threats up to 80 hours faster than traditional static threat feeds.


Cybercriminals use typosquatting to trick users into visiting fake websites by registering domain names that are almost identical to legitimate ones. This can cause great damage to small businesses with limited cybersecurity resources.

DNS filtering can prevent these attacks by scanning web traffic and blocking access to known malicious domains involved in typosquatting. It also identifies and blocks new and uncategorized domains and mitigates the risk of typosquatting attacks and data compromise.


Cryptojacking is another serious threat that can make organizations suffer data breaches and disruptions. DNS filtering can help by blocking known cryptojacking sites, safeguarding digital assets, and ensuring business continuity.

However, it has limitations; attackers can create new unknown domains and can't stop internal threats. Organizations must combine DNS filtering with employee training and network security and stay updated to reduce risks.

Implementing DNS Filtering: What You Should Choose?

There are 3 most common approaches to implementing DNS filtering; however, the choice for each depends on the requirements of businesses or internet users.

Manual DNS Filtering

This is suitable for individuals or small businesses with few internet users. In this approach, your internal IT team sets up basic DNS blocking for websites known to be problematic. However, your IT team must be highly skilled in DNS and cybersecurity.

Automated DNS Filtering

Automated DNS filtering solutions are good for growing businesses, especially small-to-medium ones. These tools can be open-source or proprietary and help block harmful websites without a highly specialized IT team.

Managed DNS Filtering

For larger or fast-growing businesses, managed DNS filtering is a great choice. Here, you work with specialized security service providers who handle the entire DNS filtering process for you. They set it up and monitor it, ensuring your overall online security. These providers also identify and fix vulnerabilities in your system and provide comprehensive protection.

However, despite choosing the best approach to implementing DNS filtering, you must also set strict guidelines to get the most out of DNS filtering. These rules should consider your specific requirements and preferences. Each policy can be tailored to a unique set of users, a single department, or even a piece of hardware.

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The cyber threat landscape is both dynamic and ever-evolving. Protecting your digital assets from the never-ending stream of online dangers has become necessary by using DNS filtering as part of your cybersecurity plan and maintaining high vigilance.

It can provide many capabilities to protect sensitive data, such as blocking dangerous domains, avoiding phishing attacks, filtering content, mitigating distributed denial of service (DDoS) assaults, and others. However, implementing DNS filtering is challenging; keep in mind your organization's unique security requirements and keep your policies under constant review and revision.



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