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Kim's free security pick that needs to be on all your devices

Kim's free security pick that needs to be on all your devices
© Matthew Trommer | Dreamstime

Cybercrime, data breaches and internet attacks are on the rise. In fact, it is estimated that the global economy will lose around $2 trillion by 2019 due to cybercrime.

Some of the more popular schemes used by cybercriminals are phishing attacks, website misdirections and cloned sites. They often build real-looking websites that copy a legitimate brand or service's official site to fool you into giving out your personal data, credentials and financial information.

These fake websites may even have domain names that look and sound like the real thing but in fact, they have completely different IP addresses that are hidden in plain sight.

This is why having a reliable and dependable DNS system is critical.

Thankfully, an alliance of cybersecurity experts is introducing this free DNS system that is designed to protect regular consumers and small businesses from internet threats.

What's a DNS?

But first, you may be wondering what DNS means. A DNS or domain name system is often called the phone book for the internet. It translates the IP addresses of websites to domain names that are easier to read and remember (for example, Google.com is translated to the IP address 74.125.239.2 and vice-versa). The communication between your computer and a DNS system is critical in order to correctly direct your web traffic.

There are various DNS services out there. Typically, your internet service provider automatically assigns its own default DNS server to your service but you change your system's DNS settings to other services like Google (8.8.8.8), OpenDNS (208.67.222.222), or Dyn (216.146.35.35).

Other DNS services can also protect you from malicious websites but they usually require a monthly fee.

Free DNS service that protects you

IBM Security, Packet Clearing House and The Global Cyber Alliance have launched a free service to give you better security and privacy while accessing the internet.

It's called the Quad9 Domain Name System (DNS) service and it is designed to protect internet users from accessing sketchy websites that are known for spreading malware, stealing personal information and fraudulent activity.

Once set as your DNS service, every time you click on a web link, Quad9 will check the site against IBM-X-Force's threat intelligence database of over 40 billion analyzed webpages and images.

Better yet, Quad9 also uses feeds from 18 other threat intelligence partners including Abuse.ch, the Anti-Phishing Working Group, Bambenek Consulting, F-Secure, mnemonic, 360Netlab, Hybrid Analysis GmbH, Proofpoint, RiskIQ, and ThreatSTOP.

Quad9 also promises that your privacy is of utmost importance. Unlike other DNS services, it doesn't store or track any personal information from its users.

When set as the DNS server on the router or gateway level, Quad9 can even protect smart appliances and Internet-of-Things from cyberattacks by blocking known remote hosts that are responsible for botnets and malware infections.

With all this advanced threat protection going on, how about Quad9's speed? Well, IBM stated that Quad9 does not compromise your browsing speed.

By using Packet Clearing House's global assets and expertise, Quad9 has points of presence in over 70 locations across 40 countries when it launched. Expect this to double in the next 18 months, resulting in even better speeds, performance and protection.

Why Quad9?

With all the paid subscription DNS systems out there, how can Quad9 change the cybersecurity game for you and me?

According to Philip Reitinger, President and CEO of the Global Cyber Alliance:

“Protecting against attacks by blocking them through DNS has been available for a long time, but has not been used widely. Sophisticated corporations can subscribe to dozens of threat feeds and block them through DNS, or pay a commercial provider for the service. However, small to medium-sized businesses and consumers have been left behind – they lack the resources, are not aware of what can be done with DNS, or are concerned about exposing their privacy and confidential information.

“Quad9 solves these problems. It is memorable, easy to use, relies on excellent and broad threat information, protects privacy, and security and is free.”

How to set up Quad9

Quad9 is a DNS service so all you have to do is change your computer's DNS server address to 9.9.9.9.

How to set Quad9 on Windows:

1. Pull up Network Connections by right-clicking on the Start menu.

2. Now click on "Change adapter options." You'll see your current network; right click and choose Properties.

Steps 2

3. Select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click on Properties.

Steps 3

4. On the Preferred DNS server field, type in 9.9.9.9, then click OK.

 

Mac users, don't despair. Here are the steps to change your DNS settings on a MacOS:

How to set Quad9 on a Mac:

1. Open System Preferences, then select Network. Click on the Advanced button.

2. Next, go to the DNS tab.

3. Click the plus (+) sign on this tab, then type in 9.9.9.9.

4. Press OK and you're set!

Note: You'll need administrator rights to make these changes.

Your router needs this one thing manufacturers don’t tell you

Checking for updates is a critical step to your computer, gadgets and installed software and applications. The reason for this is two-fold. First, you can take advantage of all the new features and improvements to the new version.

Second, your system is updated for security. Click here to learn how.

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