One Simple Trick to Boost Your Security that Nobody Does

Cybercrime is projected to cost the global economy more than $2 trillion a year by 2019 according to market analysts Juniper Research, yet a simple overlooked solution exists—changing your domain name system (DNS). Changing your DNS server is quick, easy and an effective trick to not just save you money but also boost your security, privacy, and perhaps a bit of speed. With a couple minutes and clicks, you could better arm yourself against hackers and malware, not to mention preventing parties from tracking you online.

Which DNS server do you currently use? If you haven’t already switched, or don’t know the answer, you are likely using your ISP’s servers. While ISP servers obviously function, they don’t always have reliable, up to date servers, which can result in site lag time. They also don’t usually offer phishing protection or use DNSSEC or DNSCrypt security. Using the DNS server controlled by your internet service provider (ISP) allows your ISP to see the websites you visit. It’s not a difficult feat to connect those sites with your name and address. Though using a different DNS doesn’t guarantee your site use won’t be tracked, it does make it harder to put a name to the user. For true anonymous browsing, you need a VPN or an encrypted DNS system. With the overturned Obama privacy laws, internet service providers can now sell your browser history to advertisers without your consent. DNS providers CloudFlare and Quad9 both guarantee they aren’t collecting data from you or keeping logs for longer than 24 hours.

Choosing an alternative DNS server really depends on who you are, where you are, and what your needs are. If it’s a matter of price, Google, Quad9 and CloudFlare are all free. In terms of speed, tests from security researcher Nyokolas Z rank the three fastest servers as Cloudflare, Google and Quad9, in that order. But security and privacy are the biggest reasons for making the switch.

“When it comes to security, Quad9 is your best bet,” says Craig Petronella of Petronella Technology Group, Inc. (PTG). “Unlike other DNS servers, Quad9 also prevents companies from mining data.” Quad9 checks URLs against a databank of compromised sites. Over 19 different security intelligence firms contribute to the data bank. If the URL has been flagged in the databank, Quad9 will block the site. John Todd, executive director at Quad9, is quick to state that while Quad9 offers privacy, it is not a replacement for in-depth firewalls. “We are an additional layer of security,” he says. “For users, we are the first line of defense.”

Security is even more compromised when connecting to public wifi networks, so a switch to a DNS server you trust makes even more sense. Browser customization is also a perk. Switching your DNS server allows you to unblock sites blocked by your ISP, block sites yourself at the domain name level, blacklist and whitelist sites for your whole wifi network, and even restrict online ads. OpenDNS even has a free Family Shield which focuses on filtering and kid safety.

So, how do you make this simple switch? We have the steps below. Note: Before you start making changes, jot down the old DNS server addresses in case you want them back or have trouble switching. Keep in mind a system reboot may be required for the changes to take effect. DNS is just one layer of security every business should protect. Consider leveraging as many security layers as possible to protect your business.

PTG has developed a patented 22-layer cybersafety stack to keep your business safe. Learn more at https://www.petronellacomputer.com

On Windows:

  • Hit Start and type Network Status (or right-click on your Wi-Fi icon and pick Open Network and Internet settings).
  • Click on Change Adapter Settings.
  • Right-click on your active network connection, then hit Properties.
  • Left-click on Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and hit Properties. (If you use IPv6, change that one also/instead.)
  • Click on “Use the following DNS server addresses:” and type in one of the public DNS server addresses below

On MAC:

  • System Preferences
  • Network
  • Click Advanced.
  • Click the DNS tab
  • Click the little + sign at the lower left to add a new DNS server
  • Type in the numbers of a public DNS server
  • Click OK
  • Click Apply

Public DNS Server addresses:

CloudFlare DNS: 1.1.1.1

OpenDNS: 208.67.220.220 or 208.67.222.222

VeriSign Public DNS: 64.6.64.6 or 64.6.65.6

Google DNS: 8.8.8.8 or 8.8.4.4

DNS.Watch: 84.200.69.80 or 84.200.70.40

Quad9: 9.9.9.9

Changing DNS settings over cellular networks is a bit more complicated, however, and requires a third-party app, unless you are using Android 9 Pie which has a Private DNS feature. DNS Override for iOS or DNS Changer for Android create a VPN layer so you’re going through a separate server before connecting to the DNS provider of your choice. Although these apps do work, your phone will have yet another step to go thru before finding the website and you’re putting security in the hands of the third-party developer. Are you ready to bump up your security and increase speeds, but not sure which server to use? We can help you with that or any other cybersecurity questions you might have. Just give us a call! or if you like this type of information, signup for our free Cybersafety newsletter.

PTG has developed a patented 22-layer cybersafety stack to keep your business safe. Learn more at https://www.petronellacomputer.com