Our computers and mobile devices find resources on the Internet using a naming system we call DNS (Domain Name System). DNS converts the names we humans use to browse the web (ex. www.AVAREN.com) and converts them to the IP addresses our computers use to communicate with each other over a network or the Internet (ex. 127.0.0.1). In the 2000’s some innovative software developers determined that it would make sense to intercept the outbound requests (DNS) our devices perform, and check those requests against a list of known “bad neighborhoods” on the Internet; preventing computer users from accessing websites and servers known to be harmful or unauthorized.
Leap forward 10 to 15 years and we now have well refined commercially available DNS security solutions that can be used at home or work. At work, we currently use Cisco Umbrella (formerly Open DNS) which gives us granular reporting capabilities on the traffic emitted by devices and networks. On the home front, two options are available and can be used for free.
FamilyShield DNS protection (includes porn blocker) can be enabled for every device on a network simply by making the FamilyShield DNS server addresses the primary DNS forwarders on your home router. If your router allows you to change the primary DNS server values, simply plug in the values below for immediate protections:
Every device behind a router thus configured will now be much more secure and protected from malware, ransom-ware, and more; but will also make it harder for kids to get to inappropriate sites. After signing up with your e-mail address at FamilyShield (free) one can gain some degree of visibility into the requests emanating from a network if desired.
The other option for free home use also would ideally entail changing the DNS forwarder values on your router, although this option only protects against malware (no porn blocker). These DNS server values (use two or more) are as follows:
Updated values for any of these servers can always be found at the OpenDNS or FamilyShield websites, and well as the Open DNS Wikipedia article.
For businesses we require a greater degree of transparency into the granular flows of device and network traffic, not to mention the ability to shape traffic flows to the taste of the business owner; so we manage the commercial Cisco Umbrella service on behalf of our clients. Cisco Umbrella is the most highly developed and flexible solution of its kind currently on the market. It is occasionally necessary for us to “whitelist” or allow traffic to addresses the filter typically blocks (a feature not available in the free versions). We can also deploy protections on roaming clients (laptops) with the commercial version.
Implementing a DNS security solution of this kind at either home or work and can go a long way towards cutting down on unwanted computer and device infections. Considering that these protections can be enabled at home for free (with limitations), is there really any reason not to have it enabled? If you need help getting this or other solutions correctly configured for your business, please call us today (214-379-4200). If you would like to read more about what DNS security is and how it functions, please click the link below.