This article analyses in detail the functioning of DNS-based filters, explains the advantages of DNS filtering solutions with respect to traditional firewall applications and illustrates how the FlashStart web DNS filter represents the ideal solution not only for companies and organizations but also for ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and network administrators.
1. DNS filters: what are they?
A DNS filter is a system that allows to filter Internet contents based on the DNS, the Domain Name System, of a specific website. The DNS corresponds to the numerical IP address associated with the name of the Internet website that the user types into the search bar: this shift from letters to numbers is necessary as the name in letters makes no sense to the computer.
A DNS filter hence works directly on the IP numerical addresses that the user wants to access, verifying the conformity to rules established by the system and permitting or blocking the redirection to the desired website. In this way, DNS filtering solutions make it possible to block dangerous contents, such as malware, ransomware attacks, phishing attempts, but also undesired contents, such as pornography and online gaming.
1.1 More in detail: how do they work?
DNS Filtering Solutions work as a checkpoint that allows (or blocks!) Internet traffic to go through. When the user types the name of the website he wants to reach and starts the search for the DNS, the checkpoint sends a request to the cloud to verify if the website is listed among those to block:
» If the website is not listed in the cloud: the user is automatically redirected to the desired website;
» If the website is listed in the cloud: the filter blocks the navigation towards the searched website and the user is shown a message that informs him about the impossibility to proceed.
And if we really need to access that blocked website? Some DNS filters permit the management of specific user needs through requests to lift the blocks. The filtering program sends these requests to the network administrator, who will decide how to proceed.
>> FlashStart is the updated and flexible DNS Filtering Solution suitable for schools, companies and organizations → Start your free trial now!
1.2 DNS filter or firewall appliance?
Traditionally, the results we obtain today thanks to DNS filtering solutions were obtained through firewall appliances. These were physical appliances that had the double aim of defending the network from cyberattacks and blocking access to undesired contents.
While the aim is hence the same as that of a web DNS filter, the difference lies in the process: a firewall appliance is a physical checkpoint, not a virtual one. This means that companies need to purchase hardware, install it and do the necessary maintenance regularly.
With the FlashStart web DNS filter you can navigate safely with no need to purchase additional hardware or download heavy updates and do lengthy reboots of your device. For more information about the differences between a web DNS filter and a firewall appliance read our dedicated article.
2. Why it is important to have a web DNS filter
According to a report recently published by Quad9, the use of DNS filtering solutions blocks up to 35% of attacks by hackers. This is due to the fact that the DNS filter works at the primary level of Internet navigation: the origin of the user’s search.
Therefore, DNS filtering solutions are crucial to block the navigation towards dangerous websites directly at the basis. They grant online security for companies and organizations, but also for schools and households.
>> Start using the FlashStart web DNS filter and block cyber threats at the origin in your organization → Request a quote specifica for your needs!
3. The FlashStart DNS filter
The web DNS filter solution realized by FlashStart is today the choice of companies, organizations and institutions all around the world. FlashStart’s strength lies in speed, continuous updating, versatility and flexibility.
FlashStart is distributed at the global level through an Anycast net of data centers located in the various continents and that allow instant connections garanting almost zero latency. In this way, users are not slowed down by the in-cloud checks and have the possibility to enjoy a safe and fast navigation.
3.2 Continuous updating
FlashStart uses a mix of human and artificial intelligence to constantly scan the web in order to highlight new threats and new versions of known ones. The DNSs that are deemed dangerous are then added to the lists available in the cloud and in this way users can benefit directly from the updated protection, with no need for any downloads or lengthy reboots.
The FlashStart web DNS filter can be used on any device. Within the company network, the filter is applied at the router level, making it possible to protect all the connected devices. Outside the company network, FlashStart grants its protection through ClientShield, the end-point application that can be downloaded on any device to filter Internet traffic.
Would you like to know more about the FlashStart ClientShield app? Click here and watch the dedicated video.
Network administrators can set up FlashStart and tailor it to their needs. Indeed, FlashStart automatically blocks dangerous contents, such as malware and phishing attempts, and adult contents, such as pornography and online gaming. Administrators however can disable these automatic blocks or decide to block also distracting contents, such as social networks or websites for online shopping, and create “access lists” with specific websites to which they want to grant access.
Discover all the customization options of the FlashStart web DNS filter in this dedicated article!
Finally, FlashStart allows you to act at different levels: you can apply all these blocks to different users/groups of users and different time ranges in order to grant focus during working hours and increase the efficiency of your employees.
>> FlashStart is the web DNS filter that you can customize so as to grant security and flexibility → Start your free trial now!
4. DNS filters: which one should you choose?
A quick search on the web shows that today we can choose among various DNS filtering solutions. Many are the characteristics to consider during the choice and you surely need to evaluate:
» Distribution, both at the geographical level and in terms of companies/institutions that are already a customer for the offered service: some applications, like Net Nanny, are specialized in blocking certain types of contents, for example Net Nanny is an application spread especially in America and specialized in parental controls and in preventing young users from accessing unsuitable contents (source: https://www.netnanny.com/ accessed on 24 January 2022).
» Latency: the average Internet user today is used to seeing the results of his search straight away, and so speed is an essential index. FlashStart grants almost zero latency and is hence in line with other advanced DNS filtering solutions available online.
» Service: sudden blocks, system failures, disconnections…these are all little problems that require a fast and punctual service. FlashStart connects constantly with its users and grants a 24/7 customer service in Italian, English and Spanish.
>> Contact us now from wherever you are in the world and request a quote to navigate safely and with no worries
You can activate the FlashStart® Cloud protection on any sort of Router and Firewall to secure desktop and mobile devices and IoT devices on local networks.