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Safe Internet Browsing for You and Your Kids Print
Tuesday, 17 July 2007 21:08

Safe Broswing Kid

Keeping your computer kid safe has been next to impossible. Sure most of us need a virus scanner, but having the best virus scanner and firewall available doesn’t stop pornography sites from popping up on your screen. Solutions in the past have involved word filtering which is flakey at best. OpenDNS a relatively new service approaches solving this problem it in a different manner that works. I’ll briefly explain.

Say you key in a URL like marsbox.com in your browser’s address bar. Your computer has to resolve marsbox.com to its corresponding IP number. That process is generally measured in milliseconds, so it’s all happening pretty fast. Your computer performs this resolution by querying your (ISP’s) internet service provider’s DNS server. DNS stands for domain name system. Most ISPs have two DNS servers, the main one called your primary DNS and a backup one called the secondary. Without DNS you would have to remember the IP address of every site you want to visit, so you can see the importance of these guys.

OpenDNSOpenDNS works by offering you alternative DNS servers and filtering what they resolve. This is a very practical approach. This allows them to block adult sites, protect you from address mistypes, even potential phishing scams, and a handful of other features. In my tests with Road Runner, DNS resolution was actually faster with OpenDNS. Anyone can use their DNS servers, but you need to setup an account to be able access the filter and other cool features. I’ve attached a screenshot of the ‘Adult site blocking’ tab. Next you need to change your DNS servers on your local machines. They provide instruction on configuring various operating systems and common routers. On a side note, connecting broadband internet (i.e. DSL or cable modem) directly to your computer is crazy. If you are doing this, go buy a cheap router now.

“Free, safe, and faster… I’m sold, where do I sign up,” you say? Setup a free account and change your DNS addresses. I’ve worked with equipment in the $2000-$3000 range that doesn’t equal the features and performance of OpenDNS.

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