Who Can Use WHOIS Data for Cybersecurity?

A WHOIS database is a comprehensive and versatile resource, and the insights it provides can be applied in different fields. However, its greatest use, perhaps, lies in cybersecurity. This post identifies how various cybersecurity professionals and providers can benefit from a WHOIS database.

Managed Detection and Response (MDR) Teams

As cyberattacks rise in volume and cybercriminals get bolder, MDR specialists can turn to domain data to fight off perpetrators and devise solutions and recommendations. They can use nearly-real-time WHOIS data to enhance their threat hunting, security monitoring, as well as incident analysis and response efforts.

For example, information about newly registered domains, a group that has traditionally been linked to many Web shenanigans, can provide a fair warning on what to watch out for or which suspicious sites to flag.

MDR teams can also download a WHOIS database as a means to cross-check information with their clients’ logs and existing threat intelligence to make sure they are preventing only unwanted access to the networks they are protecting.

Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs)

A security-as-a-service provider such as an MSSP can integrate a WHOIS database into its risk assessment, intrusion detection, and vulnerability scanning systems and processes. The data can help enrich its threat intelligence while undertaking continuous security monitoring and management.

With tens of thousands of new domains added to a WHOIS database daily, it is a rich source of intelligence that can support an MSSP’s daily IT security functions.

Fraud Investigators

Fraud investigators hired by banks and other financial service providers can use WHOIS data to pinpoint potential entry points related to money-laundering and other fraudulent scams. The information can help them verify if a website is safe for their clients’ customers to access and give out their financial and other personally identifiable information (PII) when engaging in online transactions.

Law Enforcement Agents

WHOIS records supply fairly complete and accurate domain ownership data that allows law enforcement agents to obtain leads that help in tracking down malware authors and owners of malicious sites and their cohorts. The data can serve as evidence in investigations and building strong legal cases against suspected perpetrators during trials.

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) Software Vendors

SIEM software can detect malicious activities by comparing security logs and event data with threat intelligence feeds. WHOIS data can enrich SIEM analytics to detect security-related anomalies. These may include inconsistencies in domain name ownership and registration details, typosquatting, failed log-ins, malware activity, and connected domains, among others. That information can strengthen threat hunting and intrusion detection.

Security Operations Centers (SOCs)

SOCs deploy various technological solutions and systems to ensure continuous security operations on an organization’s network. They rely on different real-time data sources to identify, investigate, and promptly respond to cybersecurity incidents and threat indicators. Adding a WHOIS database to SOC data feeds can pinpoint the perpetrators behind attacks, detect intrusion attempts, and monitor anomalous activity.

Unified Threat Management (UTM) Solutions

A UTM is a single security appliance or solution with multiple security functions that include intrusion detection and prevention, antivirus, antispyware, firewall, and other features. It has gained traction with the emergence of threats that combine different types of malware and attack patterns targeting different parts of the network.

A UTM responds from a single point of defense instead of relying on different vendors and equipment for specific security tasks. It would thus do well complemented by a WHOIS database that can aid in identifying and tracking threat actors and attack vectors.

IT Security Researchers

The constantly evolving tools and tactics used in cyber attacks are challenging researchers tasked to find ways to effectively fight dangers. They can use WHOIS data to perform Domain Name System (DNS) forensics as this provides detailed information on suspicious domains and Internet users to enhance their findings.

System and Network Administrators

Web administrators, who need to ensure that their organizations’ websites are always accessible, can identify who’s trying to knock these offline. For instance, WHOIS records can give them more information on the cause of a denial-of-service (DoS) attack that’s currently causing them problems.

Server administrators concerned with maintaining a continuous flow of email and network traffic can use WHOIS data to detect spearphishing email sources and sites infected with malware. Database administrators can integrate WHOIS data into existing databases to enrich their organization’s information sources. They can also ensure the security of computer communications by using WHOIS data to identify potentially malicious entities.

Managed security services and all-in-one solutions are expected to constantly improve as Web activities become more complex and threats increase in volume. Anyone in the cybersecurity field can benefit from a WHOIS database as it is constantly updated and thus provides vital threat intelligence for a broad range of cybersecurity requirements. From detection, investigation, analysis, and mitigation, WHOIS data can provide leads that help keep organizations protected.