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2018 prediction: The endangered hyperlink

Attacks targeting the fundamental infrastructure of the Internet have risen at an alarming rate and now every business needs to take protective measures
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Written by Tom Foremski, Contributor on

"Hey, send me that link!" You'll hear that phrase everywhere and in every language around the world. The hyperlink is as core part of our global culture as it is core to the Internet itself.

It's how we share photos, videos and pay our bills; it's how billions of dollars in e-commerce are transacted daily; it's our most fundamental and foundational Internet technology.

Yet the hyperlink -- this blue-underlined iconic symbol of the Internet -- is under threat as criminal organizations and secret foreign government agencies step up attacks on Domain Name System (DNS) servers to hijack traffic, inject spyware into corporate networks and dupe consumers into exposing private financial data.

Domain Name System (DNS) servers power every hyperlink. They rapidly translate the text of a dotcom address into numbers that can then pinpoint the root server and map the precise locations of every every web page, every image, video, file -- no matter where it is worldwide.

Good DNS services speed up web sites, balance traffic loads and protect against a wide spectrum of cyber threats. Bad DNS makes sites slow and unstable and makes it easy for criminals to change the address of links on a web page to their malware.

The largest recorded DNS attack took place in October 2016 and took down Dyn's DNS servers used by hundreds of popular sites such as Twitter, Amazon, PayPal. You don't have to be a giant online business to be affected, hundreds of smaller companies were taken offline, too. Look out because more is on the way -- bigger and badder in 2018.

A modern web page can have hundreds of links because of cookies, ad servers, analytics, web services, images, external video hosting sites. DNS attacks offer many new pathways for online malevolence that haven't yet been found. And with the billions of Internet of Things devices new attack vectors are constantly being added.

Without DNS the Internet stops working. Netflix won't stream, Facebook won't load and e-commerce stops working. It's a very serious problem.

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