Tag Archives: Natural Language Processing

OpenDNS – Use It!

OpenDNS – Use It

I cannot say it enough. Wherever I go and when I can, I always advocate using OpenDNS. They screen the web urls before you do. So you will never hit a bad site. Defense in depth is addressed here as well. You need to watch your perimeter as well as the deep inside where your users reside. In fact most cases in hacking events today involve end users. What do they do all day ? Work and when they get a chance to blow off steam or check on personal email you open yourself up for risk. This means that all the end users open your company up for attack via data leakage, IP losses, and corporate espionage. What’s funny, when companies buy other companies they inherit the risk associated with their systems. Has anyone really ever thought about the risk inherited by hiring you, the employee? Maybe the board will start to re-think M&A and apply it to the microcosm in the work place.

Recently SANS news Bites released an article about OpenDNS and detecting domain shadowing.

THE REST OF THE WEEK’S NEWS
–Detecting Suspicious Domains
(March 5, 2015)
Technology being developed by OpenDNS aims to hasten detection of
malicious websites and domains. The technology, called Natural Language
Processing Rank (NLPRank), checks for suspicious site names. To reduce
the incidence of false positives, it also checks to see if the domain
is running on the same network that the organization it claims to be
from actually uses.
http://arstechnica.com/security/2015/03/system-catches-malware-sites-by-understanding-sneaky-domain-names/
http://www.computerworld.com/article/2893599/opendns-trials-system-that-quickly-detects-computer-crime.html
[Editor’s Note (Northcutt): OpenDNS is a really cool operation and if
you are not using it for your home network you should really consider
it; this goes double if you are a parent. And NLPRANK is an idea whose
time has come. The idea of registering domain names that are similar to
valid and trustworthy names e.g. Micr0s0ft.com is not new. What is
fairly new is the ability of attackers to prepare an attack, register
these slightly-off domains, embed them in tiny urls, phishing links in
emails, etc., and mop up the opportunities the people that succumb to
the attack present them in a very short period of time. In manufacturing
and quality control, people are very sensitive to cycle time. We need
to apply that type of mindset in defensive cybersecurity:
https://www.opendns.com/home-internet-security/parental-controls/opendns-home/
http://www.isixsigma.com/dictionary/cycle-time/ ]

The article comments on the ability of NLPRank which is natural language processing rating system where for example, a domain name registered recently, with bad spelling/purposely misspelled, and or bad email registrant information will give the domain a negative rank. This would be blocked from users that utilize OpenDNS or a warning showing its risky like WoT did with their color scheme for web site search results. The system is still in testing at the time of this writing but should be usable in the near future. Hats off to OpenDNS, continuing to shock and wow the world and giving people and businesses an edge in thwarting cyber criminals.