Articles tagged with: security

DNS: Not Just Another UTLA

Have you ever wondered what DNS is? Probably not, but let me give you a quick education and then I want to share something, well, exciting with you.

DNS stands for Domain Name System. At a very simple level, DNS servers are servers that know how to translate a “friendly name” into an IP Address. Example: you type in, your DNS server looks up, returns to your browser, and now you’re on your way to my website (aren’t you glad you don’t have to remember IP Addresses!?). Of course, this all happens a lot faster than you might think, and some very smart people have come up with ways to make these transactions as fast as possible. It’s all very interesting, and you can read more about it here.Now for something truly exciting… OpenDNS is a provider of free security and infrastructure services that make the Internet safer through integrated Web content filtering, anti-phishing and DNS. Let me give you a brief detail on each of their services:

  • Content Filtering: they have over 50 categories of web content that can be blocked. You can choose a pre-determined level, or you can pick and choose specific categories to block.
  • Anti-Phishing: phishing, as you may know, “is the criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.” OpenDNS takes the guess-work out of trying to identify phishing scams and has blocked over a quarter million phishing websites to date.
  • DNS: OpenDNS has a network of strategically located DNS servers across the country that provide fast, redundant lookups.
  • Additionally: OpenDNS provides typo correction with “Did you mean?” spelling suggestions, the ability to create shortcuts to frequently visited/difficult to remember or spell URLs, and detailed charts and statistics that enable you to understand what’s happening on your company’s network.

As you can see, OpenDNS offers helpful, and for this day and age, necessary services all at a very compelling price… FREE!

*UTLA stands for Useless Three Letter Acronym

Patching… Today’s AntiVirus

I had a client ask me today “hey, what’s with all the patches and updates lately?”. Without even thinking, I replied “it’s the Anti-Virus of the day”.

I’ve been thinking about that some. If the current Anti-Virus products can’t protect our computers (and it appears they can’t), what can? Patches and updates. The “Bad Guys” are exploiting known vulnerabilities and the only way to stop them is to remove those vulnerabilities.

Is your “Anti-Virus” up-to-date? If not, maybe you should be thinking about creating a policy that defines what exactly should be on your computers, remove what shouldn’t be and then develop a procedure for keeping everything up-to-date.