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6 DNS services protect against malware and other unwanted content

Eric Geier | Jan. 28, 2015
Use one of these DNS services to protect your family or business from phishing sites and other unwanted intruders.

Norton ConnectSafe
Free for: Personal use

DNS Addresses: Vary based upon desired protection

Norton ConnectSafe provides three preconfigured DNS servers, free for personal use with no account needed:

  • Security: The most basic service that automatically blocks malware, phishing and scam sites, and uses the DNS addresses of 199.85.126.10 and 199.85.127.10.
  • Security + Pornography: Adds blocking of sexually explicit material; uses the DNS addresses of 199.85.126.20 and 199.85.127.20.
  • Security + Pornography + Other: Adds blocking of other mature content, like alcohol, crime, drugs and gambling; uses the DNS addresses of 199.85.126.30 and 199.85.127.30.

There is also a business service that requires a paid subscription and that offers the same first two levels (via different DNS addresses); the third level blocks P2P file sharing instead of other mature content.

When they hit a blocked site, users see a page saying it's blocked and why, and there's a link to email Norton to dispute its blocking. There are no third-party ads on the page, but an ad for Norton products does appear.

The page shown for nonexistent or unresponsive domains doesn't contain advertisements, but offers a search field that will display results powered by Ask.com if the user decides to perform a search.

OpenDNS
Free for: Personal or business use for Enhanced DNS; personal use only for other home and family services

DNS addresses: 208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220 ("FamilyShield" DNS addresses: 208.67.222.123 and 208.67.220.123)

OpenDNS is one of the most popular third-party DNS providers around, offering both free and premium services for homes and businesses. Its most basic free service is called Enhanced DNS, which is provided via the company's main DNS addresses and is preconfigured to block malware and phishing sites.

OpenDNS also offers different service options for personal home use:

  • OpenDNS FamilyShield: Similar to Enhanced DNS, but also preconfigured to block adult content.
  • OpenDNS Home: Similar to Enhanced DNS, but offers customizable filtering and security options, including white- and blacklists, customizable messages for blocked pages and basic logs and stats. It uses the same main addresses as Enhanced DNS but requires you to create an account.
  • OpenDNS Home VIP: Premium service similar to the Home service with usage stats and support, priced at $19.95 per year. It uses the same main addresses as Enhanced DNS and also requires you to create an account.

OpenDNS' basic business service, called Umbrella, offers advanced security and management, useful for larger networks and enterprise environments. Umbrella Prosumer handles up to five users, while the Umbrella service, which caters to larger businesses, is offered in three different levels with varied advanced features and functionality.

When a webpage is blocked, users see a simple page saying it's blocked and why. Network administrators who are using a free or paid account can add a note and contact form to the page so the user can request the website be unblocked. When using the Umbrella services on a business network, administrators can enter bypass codes to instantly unblock websites. Similar functionality is available when using the OpenDNS home services on a Netgear router (according to Netgear, most of its newer routers support it) with Netgear's Live Parental Controls.

 

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