Wednesday, August 08, 2012

OpenDNS to prevent Malware, Phishing, and Porn

A parent I know was wondering last week what she could do to block her kids from going to websites of questionable educational value for children of a young age if Chrome was installed on their computer.

Previously she'd been using the Windows Live parental filters built into recent Internet Explorer versions. I suggested she look at OpenDNS as you can set filters and any computer using the OpenDNS DNS servers, regardless of browser or even operating system, would be blocked from going to sites in your blacklisted categories. Thus, this solution, if implemented right in the house's internet router, would also work for the kids' iPods, and any other devices they had that could connect to the internet.

Personally, I have OpenDNS enabled on my home network with only Malware and Phishing sites blocked. This allows an extra layer of protection from accidentally browsing to a malware infected site over the Google blacklist that many browsers use.

You set up an account and set whatever settings you want for web filtering, and give them your external (internet) IP address to tie those filtering rules to, then set OpenDNS's DNS servers in your router or computer's IP settings. Don't worry, if you don't know how to do that they offer plenty of helpful instructions.

What if you are with an Internet Service Provider that gives you a different address each time you connect, or you want that protection on a laptop that moves from network to network getting new IP addresses all the time? They have an app for that. (sorry Apple)

OpenDNS Updater is a tiny app that sits in the system tray by your clock and periodically updates the IP address they have on file for your account.

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