What is a DNS Internet Filter?

The internet has revolutionized communication and places a wealth of knowledge at people’s fingertips, but it can also be a dangerous place. The internet is made safer with A DNS internet filter, which is used to block web-based threats by preventing users from accessing malicious websites.

DNS internet filters are used by internet service providers to keep their customers safe and by businesses to prevent employees and customers from accessing websites that harbor malware, ransomware, and phishing kits.

A DNS internet filter has other important benefits. It can be used to create family-friendly internet access by preventing adult content from being accessed, to improve productivity in workplaces by curbing cyberslacking, and to control bandwidth use, by limiting bandwidth heavy activities such as video streaming.

How Does a DNS Internet Filter Work?

In order to understand how an Internet DNS filter works, you need to know what happens when you try visit a website. If you click a hyperlink in an email or enter a domain name into your web browser’s address bar, several processes must first be completed before the website can be loaded. Those processes involve the Domain Name System (DNS).

When a domain name is purchased from a domain name registrar and is hosted, it is assigned a unique IP address. That unique set of numbers allows the domain to be found over the internet. When an attempt is made to visit that website by entering the domain name into a web browser, the IP address needs to be found. That information is found by sending a query to a DNS server which performs a DNS lookup to obtain the IP address.

First a request is sent to a recursive resolver, which is commonly hosted by the user’s internet service provider. The recursive resolver makes contact with a root nameserver that contains a database of IP addresses for top level domains. A request is sent to a top-level domain nameserver, which directs the recursive resolver to the server hosting the website and the IP address is obtained. With the IP address, the browser can find the website and download the content. The whole process is exceptionally fast. It takes about a tenth of a second from the initial request to the provision of the IP address.

A DNS internet filter is inserted into this process and performs various checks to determine if the website should be loaded. If those checks are passed, the browser is directed to the website. If a check is failed, the IP address is not provided and the attempt to visit the website will be blocked. The user will then be directed to a local block page that tells them why the website cannot be accessed.

DNS Filtering Control Mechanisms

A DNS internet filtering service provider scans the internet and assigns categories to each website based on the content of the site. Users of the DNS internet filter can configure the solution to block certain categories of web content. This is as simple as using a mouse to tick certain checkboxes.

A DNS internet filter also uses whitelists and blacklists. Whitelists are used to allow all content on a particular website to be accessed, regardless of the types of content on that site. If web content on the site violates other policies, whitelisting ensures it can still be accessed. Blacklists are the opposite. If a website is on a blacklist used by a DNS filter, it can never be accessed. Blacklists are maintained by several organizations and include sites that contain illegal content and webpages used for phishing or malware distribution.

Keyword-based filtering may also be used. This involves scanning webpages for certain keywords and assigning a score based on the density of the keyword or keywords. If a certain threshold is reached, the webpage will be blocked.

WebTitan Cloud – A Fast, Effective, and Easy to Use DNS Content Filter for ISPs, MSPs, and SMBs

WebTitan Cloud is a powerful, but easy to use DNS internet filter that can be used by ISPs, MSPs, and SMBs to block web-based threats such as phishing and malware and control the content that end users can access.

WebTitan Cloud is quick and easy to implement. Just point your DNS to WebTitan and you can be filtering the internet in a matter of minutes. You can set policies for your entire organization or for user groups and individuals through an intuitive web-based interface. The solution supports time-based filtering and cloud keys can be used if filtering controls ever need to be bypassed.

WebTitan Cloud can be hosted with TitanHQ, in a private AWS cloud, or even within your own environment. MSPs can be provided with WebTitan Cloud in white label form ready to take their logos and color schemes. The solution can also be integrated into MSP’s remote managing and monitoring systems through the TitanHQ API.

For further information on WebTitan Cloud, to arrange a product demonstration, or to register for a free trial, contact TitanHQ today.