Web Security Firm Comodo Buys DNS.com to Deliver Managed Services

Comodo acquired DNS.com, a managed domain name system services provider to build up its secure DNS offering, the Comodo Authoritative DNS Service.

Internet security firm Comodo has added domain-name systems to its slate of managed services with the acquisition of DNS.com.

With the acquisition, Comodo launched Comodo Authoritative DNS Service, a Domain Name System hosting service for enterprise customers, the company said Feb. 10. Discussion around the deal began earlier in the summer of 2010 and closed in the late summer, Melih Abdulhayoglu, CEO and chief security architect of Comodo, told eWEEK. Abdulhaloglu declined to discuss financial terms of the deal.

"We saw that DNS is insecure, so we are using our expertise to secure it," he said.

Comodo was able to immediately roll out secured DNS services to all its enterprise customers as well as to move its own infrastructure to use DNS.com, Abdulhayoglu said. It makes sense to take advantage of Comodo's extensive network of data centers and ensure customers get both secure and fast Internet performance, he said.

Comodo knows how security works and about the various threats to the network, and it has the technical qualifications to secure networks, he said. DNS services are a natural progression of Comodo's enterprise security software business, which includes multi-factor authentication and a PCI/vulnerability scanner. "We are a security company trying to provide DNS," which makes more sense than a DNS company trying to provide security, he said.

DNS is the heart of the Internet's naming infrastructure, as it serves as a virtual phone directory that matches IP addresses with the corresponding domain name. "The Internet doesn't run without DNS, yet no one cares about the security of the DNS," Abdulhayoglu said.

DNS.com will benefit from Comodo's global infrastructure, extensive customer base and security expertise, said Dan Kimball, former CEO of DNS.com.

"Comodo is here to make DNS better," Kimball said. DNS.com was originally called ComWired.com, a geodirectional DNS system company. It changed its name when it began offering managed DNS services and acquired the domain last April.

As the only certificate authority in the world that has DNS-hosting capabilities, Comodo is in a unique "position to contribute to new security standards" to create better and more secure DNS protocols, he said.

Comodo is working with large organizations to set up new standards to improve DNS security, he said. Considering attackers don't bother attacking servers anymore because it's so much easier to go after DNS, providing better security protocols for DNS was critical, he said. Even though getting those standards in place would take some time, Comodo's customers would be protected, he said.

"We are seeing more attacks against DNS every day. It's a simple fact," Abdulhayoglu said. There has been an increase in denial-of-service attacks recently, as hacktivisits target Websites to protest or to punish corporate policies. For example, a loose group of Internet hackers who call themselves Anonymous has been targeting a number of government Websites in defense of WikiLeaks and to support Egyptian protesters.

Enterprises can't really protect themselves against DDOS attacks on their own, but Comodo's networks are built with anti-DDOS capabilities to fight and resist massive attacks, Abdulhayoglu said. "Going down a few hours because the DNS isn't working is no longer acceptable for enterprises," he said.

DNS.com recently upgraded its network and added six new nodes for a total of 14 edge locations worldwide, Comodo said. DNS.com offers packages based on queries per month, which includes an easy-to-use Web-based control panel, and access to security support.

All employees of DNS.com joined Comodo and Comodo has committed additional financial resources and new employees to build out the DNS business unit, Abdulhayoglu said.

A number of networking and security experts have been worried about the lack of security in DNS over the years. Internet traffic is being routed on a system that relies "primarily on trust," and its lack of proper security standards meant the world was on "borrowed time" before a serious incident occurred, Craig Labovitz, chief scientist at Arbor Networks, told eWEEK.

Despite warnings over the "vulnerability" of DNS and a "long history" of downtime associated with DNS issues, "organizations are still not taking DNS security seriously," Cricket Liu, vice-president of architecture at Infoblox told eWEEK.

Abdulhayoglu says, "It's time to take DNS seriously."