DNS — It’s something we use every day, though many of us don’t realize what it is. DNS is sort of like the address book of the internet — it essentially allows websites to have names. It’s much easier to remember a website name like www.bitsonline.com than it is to remember an IP address, like 188.8.131.52. So, DNS is pretty important. Tech giant IBM wants to ensure DNS remains secure, so it has decided to back a new service in light of recent events.
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The job of DNS is to convert your destination web address into a machine usable IP address. In recent months, however, the US Trump administration has repealed legislation that was designed to protect American consumer privacy.
Your Privacy Under threat
The bill would have prevented ISP and DNS operators from collecting and selling data about you to anyone and everyone who wanted it. Such data could include your entire browsing history.
If the rules had passed, ISPs would have been required to get your explicit consent. Withour your consent, your data would have been secure. That is no longer the case.
Speaking to Gizmodo, Public Knowledge fellow Dallas Harris said that from now on, consumers will “have to take their privacy into their own hands.” In a piece on eff.org, the group states that the “results for Americans’ privacy will be disastrous.”
At this point, the only way to stop your ISP from selling your information is to contact them directly, and formally notify them that you do not consent to having your data sold to the highest bidder. But even notifying your ISP may not be enough. They may still inadvertently include your data in a large package to be auctioned off to potentially nefarious individuals.
IBM’s new DNS service Quad9 — named for its unique IP address of 184.108.40.206 — is a free service that promises to keep your information private, as well as to block “known malicious domains. According to quad9.net, “No personally-identifiable information is collected by the system.”
The service itself is operated on a distributed, worldwide network of more than 70 locations at the service’s launch, and a planned 160 locations to open in 2018. This distribution of servers is intended to ensure speed and stability. The site even suggests that in some cases, users may experience an increase in browsing speed if their prior DNS was not up to scratch.
Setup of the service takes just a few minutes. The process essentially boils down to opening up your network settings and manually setting your preferred DNS server to 220.127.116.11.
The site for the service has video guides for the process for both Windows and Mac systems. At press time, the Windows guide has been viewed 2,000 times, and the Apple guide 1,250 views. This suggests that perhaps knowledge of Quad9 has not yet spread very widely.
Protection With IBM X-Force
The new DNS service may not only be faster and ensure privacy, but it may also keep you safe from a number of online threats:
“Whenever a Quad9 user clicks on a website link or types in an address into a web browser, Quad9 will check the site against the IBM X-Force threat intelligence database of over 40 billion analyzed web pages and images.”
According to the official X-Force page, the service has identified 860,000 malicious IP addresses, and tracks 8 million spam and phishing attacks every day. The X-Force service provides security analysis, support, and threat intelligence to a number of high profile companies.
Will you consider using this new DNS service? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Images via Pixabay, Quad9