Advanced DNS Protection: mitigating sophisticated DNS DDoS attacks

We’re proud to introduce the for each customer’s traffic profile. This is a probabilistic data structure that allows us to succinctly store and distribute each customer’s DNS profile, and then efficiently query it at packet processing time.

Data distribution

We periodically need to recompute and redistribute every customer’s DNS traffic profile between our data centers to each server in our fleet. We used our very own R2 storage service to greatly simplify this task. With regional hints and custom domains enabled, we enabled caching and used only a handful of R2 buckets. Each time we need to update the global view of the customer data models across our edge fleet, 98% of the bits transferred are served from cache.

Built-in tolerance

When new domain names are put into service, our data models will not immediately be aware of them because queries with these names have never been seen before. This and other reasons for potential false positives mandate that we need to build a certain amount of tolerance into the system to allow through potentially legitimate queries. We do so by leveraging token bucket algorithms. Customers can configure the size of the token buckets by changing the sensitivity levels of the Advanced DNS Protection system. The lower the sensitivity, the larger the token bucket — and vice versa. A larger token bucket provides more tolerance for unexpected DNS queries and expected DNS queries that deviate from the profile. A high sensitivity level translates to a smaller token bucket and a stricter approach.

Leveraging Cloudflare’s global software-defined network

At the end of the day, these are the types of challenges that Cloudflare is excellent at solving. Our customers trust us with handling their traffic, and ensuring their Internet properties are protected, available and performant. We take that trust extremely seriously.

The Advanced DNS Protection system leverages our global infrastructure and data processing capabilities alongside intelligent algorithms and data structures to protect our customers.

If you are not yet a Cloudflare customer, let us know if you’d like to protect your DNS servers. Existing Cloudflare customers can enable the new systems by contacting their account team or Cloudflare Support.

Source:: CloudFlare