Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Analytics

11/17/2017
10:38 AM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

IBM, Nonprofits Team Up in New Free DNS Service

Quad9 blocks malicious sites used in phishing, other nefarious activity.

A new nonprofit has launched a free Domain Name System (DNS) service that filters malicious domains linked to botnets, phishing campaigns, and other malicious activity.

The new Quad9 DNS service built by IBM Security, Packet Clearing House, and the Global Cyber Alliance, is aimed at consumers and small- to midsized businesses, and doesn't share or resell user DNS lookup information to advertisers.

"Ninety to 95% of threats and major intrusions come by way of DNS," says Philip Reitinger, president and CEO of the Global Cyber Alliance and former deputy undersecretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate at the US Department of Homeland Security. Quad9 blocks phishing sites that are flagged as malicious, he notes.

DNS attacks can be insidious for consumers as well as businesses. Three out of 10 companies say they've been hit with cyberattacks on their DNS infrastructure, 93% of whom suffered downtime due to the attack, according to a recent study by Dimensional Research on behalf of Infoblox. And that's just the organizations who actually detected that their DNS was hit; experts believe the actual number of DNS attacks is higher because many organizations don't know.

Quad9 isn't the first free DNS service, however. OpenDNS, now part of Cisco Systems as OpenDNS Home, was one of the first such services that filters malicious DNS traffic, for example, and Google offers its 8.8.8.8.  

DNS pioneer Paul Vixie, CEO and founder of DNS security firm FarSight Security, notes that there are actually hundreds of freebie DNS services, and not all are created equal. "There are hundreds of DNS service providers offering free service, but the only ones I'm sure I would trust to see my DNS lookups are Google's 8.8.8.8 and Cisco Umbrella's OpenDNS. And now, add DCA/PCH/IBM's Quad9 to that list, because their credentials are also quite strong."

While Google's 8.8.8.8 does not filter DNS responses, Cisco Umbrella's OpenDNS and Quad9 filter "any known-dangerous DNS data that could otherwise lead to a malware infection or worse," he notes.

Vixie says networks, including home networks, should opt for a DNS service with DNS filtering as a defense from network threats. While many ISPs offer this service, if they also mine customer DNS queries, it's a privacy tradeoff, he notes.

The key is to vet a DNS service's privacy policy. "Even if they publish a 'privacy policy,' they might not be following it. You need solid reason to trust a DNS service's credentials," he says.

How Quad9 Works

Setting up the Quad9 service entails reconfiguring the DNS setting on networked devices to 9.9.9.9. When a user types an URL into his or her browser, or clicks on a website, the service checks it against IBM X-Force's threat intelligence database, as well as nearly 20 other threat intelligence feeds including Abuse.ch, the Anti-Phishing Working Group, F-Secure, Proofpoint, and RiskIQ.

John Todd, executive director of Quad9 and a former Senior Technologist, Packet Clearing House, says consumers are the initial target for the new service, especially for their Internet of Things devices.

The DNS filtering service would block an IoT device from becoming a bot in a botnet such as Mirai, for example, notes Paul Griswold, director strategy and product management, IBM X-Force. "The best way to protect them [IoT devices] is through the network layer and through the DNS. So if an IoT device gets infected like they did with Mirai, it would cut off those [DNS] requests then they try to join a botnet."

Related Content:

Join Dark Reading LIVE for two days of practical cyber defense discussions. Learn from the industry’s most knowledgeable IT security experts. Check out the INsecurity agenda here.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 7/9/2020
Russian Cyber Gang 'Cosmic Lynx' Focuses on Email Fraud
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  7/7/2020
Why Cybersecurity's Silence Matters to Black Lives
Tiffany Ricks, CEO, HacWare,  7/8/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-15504
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
A SQL injection vulnerability in the user and admin web interfaces of Sophos XG Firewall v18.0 MR1 and older potentially allows an attacker to run arbitrary code remotely. The fix is built into the re-release of XG Firewall v18 MR-1 (named MR-1-Build396) and the v17.5 MR13 release. All other version...
CVE-2020-8190
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
Incorrect file permissions in Citrix ADC and Citrix Gateway before versions 13.0-58.30, 12.1-57.18, 12.0-63.21, 11.1-64.14 and 10.5-70.18 allows privilege escalation.
CVE-2020-8191
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
Improper input validation in Citrix ADC and Citrix Gateway versions before 13.0-58.30, 12.1-57.18, 12.0-63.21, 11.1-64.14 and 10.5-70.18 and Citrix SDWAN WAN-OP versions before 11.1.1a, 11.0.3d and 10.2.7 allows reflected Cross Site Scripting (XSS).
CVE-2020-8193
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
Improper access control in Citrix ADC and Citrix Gateway versions before 13.0-58.30, 12.1-57.18, 12.0-63.21, 11.1-64.14 and 10.5-70.18 and Citrix SDWAN WAN-OP versions before 11.1.1a, 11.0.3d and 10.2.7 allows unauthenticated access to certain URL endpoints.
CVE-2020-8194
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-10
Reflected code injection in Citrix ADC and Citrix Gateway versions before 13.0-58.30, 12.1-57.18, 12.0-63.21, 11.1-64.14 and 10.5-70.18 and Citrix SDWAN WAN-OP versions before 11.1.1a, 11.0.3d and 10.2.7 allows the modification of a file download.