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IBM Quad9 DNS Service Offers Rogue Site Protection

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Big Blue and partners deliver Quad9 DNS privacy and security service for malicious website protection

IBM has teamed up with Packet Clearing House (PCH) and Global Cyber Alliance (GCA) in order to come up with a free service to offer both consumers and businesses additional protection whilst online.

The new service, known as the Quad9 Domain Name System (DNS) service, seeks to improve online privacy and security as helping protect users whilst they are online from accessing millions of malicious websites.

These malicious websites are known to either steal personal information, infect users with ransomware and malware, or conduct fraudulent activity.

“Protecting against attacks by blocking them through DNS has been available for a long time, but has not been used widely,” said Philip Reitinger, President and CEO of the Global Cyber Alliance.

 

data protection, GDPR

DNS Checking

According to the three firms, the Quad9 (9.9.9.9) DNS service is “engineered to not store, correlate or otherwise leverage any personally identifiable information (PII) from its users.”

It was the brainchild of GCA, and now all three firms say Quad9 is in contrast to “other DNS services that often capture information about the websites consumers visit, devices they use and where they live for marketing or other purposes.”

IBM points to new research from consumers in the US, UK, France and Germany that shows just 27 percent of consumers think they are capable of staying ahead of the latest online threats.

Indeed, only 14 percent have ever changed the DNS settings on their computer.

In order to utilise the security and privacy protections of Quad9, users will simply need to reconfigure a single setting on their devices (computer, router or network device) to use 9.9.9.9 as their DNS server.

And the Quad9 cover doesn’t just apply to Windows PCs and Apple Macs, as it can also be extended to internet connected devices (TVs, DVRs) or Internet of Things (IoT) technologies (smart thermostats, connected home appliances etc).

Quad9 automatically blocks access to known malicious websites, as each website has a unique numerical address (IP address). Quad9 sits in the middle where these IP addresses are translated into company names or words, so it can prevent users from ever landing on a rogue website.

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“Whenever a Quad9 user clicks on a website link or types an address into a web browser, Quad9 checks the site against IBM X-Force’s threat intelligence database of over 40 billion analysed web pages and images,” said Big Blue.

“The service also taps feeds from 18 additional threat intelligence partners including Abuse.ch, the Anti-Phishing Working Group, Bambenek Consulting, F-Secure, mnemonic, 360Netlab, Hybrid Analysis GmbH, Proofpoint, RiskIQ, and ThreatSTOP.”

And it is claimed that the Quad9 protection does not compromise surfing speed, as it utilises PCH’s global assets around the world so it has points of presence in over 70 locations across 40 countries at launch.

DNS

Sharing Data

These points of presence are expected to double over the next 18 months, and data will be shared with other security specialists to improve online security.

“Leveraging threat intelligence is a critical way to stay ahead of cybercriminals,” said Jim Brennan, VP Strategy and Offering Management at IBM Security.

“Consumers and small businesses traditionally didn’t have free, direct access to the intelligence used by security firms to protect big businesses. With Quad9, we’re putting that data to work for the industry in an open way and further enriching those insights via the community of users.”

Online threats unfortunately remain a very real and present danger for all Internet users.

Earlier this week for example, researchers at IBM X-Force identified a new banking Trojan (IcedID) active in the wild, that is hitting targets in both the United States and UK.

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