Where Domain Name Threats Come from and How to Effectively Avoid Them

Cybersecurity threats constantly emerge whether we are aware of them or not. It is easy to get overwhelmed just thinking of the possibilities, but it’s not an excuse to let any of them slip by.

That’s the reason why organizations and managed detection and response (MDR) service providers along with other security outsourcers need to keep their eyes open and respond to incidents in real time.

Cybersecurity professionals avail of instant and continuous access to a stream of data from various sources to enhance their own or clients’ requirements. This post will discuss how WHOIS data can enhance threat detection and incidence response capabilities.

Spotting Attack Indicators with a WHOIS Database

Enterprises use several applications and systems, and it’s important to secure all these from all kinds of threats. A WHOIS database can be a useful tool in that regard.

It could be used to investigate a domain that is strikingly similar to that of an established brand. In this case, WHOIS data can help identify and possibly contact the domain’s owner to validate suspicions. If warranted, the perpetrator can be asked to desist malicious activities.

Another example is when a number connected domains need to be verified for legitimacy. A check with WHOIS records can establish connections between the domains that, for instance, were registered on the same day or have the same owner as those with confirmed shady reputations.

Alternatively, perhaps, a sudden surge of unwanted emails from unknown or suspicious senders can be checked for potential business email compromise (BEC) fraudsters or other phishing or spoofing specialists.

Whatever threat indicators a security service provider may identify, a WHOIS database is a useful tool in validating suspicions that can lead to immediate preemptive responses.

Who Can Benefit from WHOIS Information?

Regardless of your cybersecurity needs and industry, being assured of an instantaneous and continuous stream of threat intelligence is an edge. WHOIS data can complement the efforts of different cybersecurity professionals and providers as it is crucial in proactively identifying threat sources.

  • Threat hunters: The name of the game for MDR service providers is proactive protection. And their weapon? Initiative. WHOIS data feeds can provide information that points to compromised IP netblocks practically in real time. Such feeds also give clues as to a target network’s attack entry points, allowing security personnel to address identified weaknesses.
  • Managed security service providers (MSSPs): WHOIS data can provide organizations with continuous security monitoring, risk assessment, intrusion detection, and vulnerability scanning. WHOIS data could be integrated into an MSSP’s monitoring and security systems for enriched threat intelligence.
  • Security information and event management (SIEM) product vendors: Apart from collecting security logs and event data to spot security-related anomalies within an IT environment, SIEM software can compare these with threat intelligence feeds to better detect malicious activities. WHOIS data can enrich security analytics to confirm whether an event or activity is malicious or not. Inconsistent record details, failed log-ins, and malware activity can be crucial for strengthening security monitoring and identifying unknown threats.
  • Security operations centers (SOCs): Think of this as a war room facility responsible for an organization’s ongoing security operations. Its security analysts and researchers use various solutions and processes to detect, analyze, and respond to cybersecurity incidents. SOCs can add a WHOIS database to their information sources, especially if they are trying to identify the threat actors behind the attacks. They can also use the database to detect intrusion attempts and other anomalies.

Other WHOIS Information Uses

Organizations can strengthen their threat-hunting capabilities by acquiring unrestricted access to real-time data from different sources. Doing that, however, results in disparate information that requires context before the data can be of any use.

Current or historical WHOIS records can identify a domain’s owner, location, contact details, and other information that may be connected to threats. This information is crucial to those following up leads and other tasks that include:

  • Data enrichment: Merging WHOIS data with existing systems and solutions can provide more context. For example, a WHOIS dataset can be fed to a threat intelligence platform to generate threat intelligence.
  • More informed decision making: Insights validated with WHOIS information provide clearer directions that are necessary to make the right decisions. Identifying high-risk countries and shady domains allow an enterprise to be forewarned against risks. Domain purchases can be made more safely by making sure that the object of interest did not use to be owned by bad actors or has not been involved in any malevolent activity.

Information is the Web’s most vital resource, and companies need lots of it to strengthen their security posture. Obtaining access to as much data as possible can help them better identify threat sources and thus mitigate risks. By utilizing a WHOIS database, companies and external cybersecurity providers can leverage comprehensive domain information that may not be available anywhere else to enrich their security analytics in real time.