OpenDNS-Faster Surfing, Block Phishing

For August, we’re featuring software to help keep you, your business and our family saver on line.

For a useful tip, see the end of the column where we give some resources on where and how to safely dispose of unwanted electronics and other hazardous waste for those of us living in Oklahoma City and Edmond.

Tim recently started using Open DNS with his own computers and then with some of his clients. I blogged about this free web-based software several months ago and we thought it would be worthwhile to update so hopefully you can check it out for yourselves.

If you’re a business owner or a parent, this free software (nothing to download), is available to you.

Some uses:

  • Filter out sites not suitable for your kids (see graphic below as there are 50 levels from which to choose)
  • Block specific sites. If there are certain websites you never want to visit, block them specifically
  • Phishing protection. If you’re about to visit a fraudulent website, you’ll get a notice from Open DNS
  • Reports and statistics are available for your review—you can view websites visited, frequency of visits and if domains you blocked were typed in
  • Open DNS automatically corrects your typos when entering in popular domains

If you are interested in having Open DNS at your office or home and need help, just give Tim a call at 831-0500 and he can get you set up.

 

Open DNS Article

Domain spoofing attacks were brought to our attention late last year by Dan Kaminsky. Putting it very simply, spoofing is where some bad guys redirect our computers from a trusted site to a site that looks a lot like what we were expecting, but isn’t. Then the bad guys are able to capture our passwords and other sensitive information.

While ISPs struggled to patch and fix things, the general public was made aware of OpenDNS by tech luminaries such as Leo Laporte, Steve Gibson and Kim Komando. OpenDNS is a free service that works with your current network to protect you from phishing and can be used at home, schools or businesses. Using this service protects you from domain spoofing and has added benefits. Simply visit the website and follow the step by step instructions on how to change your nameservers to the DNS nameservers. There is no software to download imagewith OpenDNS, you simply choose to use their nameservers instead of the ones used by your ISP.

I must confess putting off doing this until last week. I visited the website and followed the router instructions and saw they didn’t have my exact model, but chose one similar to one pictured and got the nameservers changed. If you have a router, you will need to have your router IP address and password available.

I also signed up for a free account to take advantage of the other benefits of having OpenDNS which include:

  • imageExtensive content filtering levels. Easily change the level of filtering that is right for your network. There are five levels plus a customization option
  • Web-based dashboard where you manage your settings, networks, make network shortcuts and view your stats. The stats section is especially helpful as you can toggle settings to view any domains that were blocked as well as a list of domains being viewed by the network
  • Ability to block specific websites. If your kids aren’t ready for youtube or social networking, you can block these sites. If you do block a specific site, you can type in a message to be displayed to the person trying to view the site, such as “dad says this is off-limits”.
  • Typo correction. If you’re typing in the address bar, “yahoo.cm”, OpenDNS will automatically correct the spelling and take you to yahoo. I like this as it saves me having to look at some goofy page and retyping the address.
  • Faster surfing. Reading other people’s blogs, I’ve seen people insist that their surfing is faster, while others have said it’s slower. For myself, I thought the first day was really slow, but now things seem fine, but don’t know about faster.

Recycling Unwanted Electronics & Other ‘Hazardous’ Waste Material

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Probably most of us have used batteries, old electronics, paint and chemicals in our garages that we want to get rid of responsibly. If you live in Oklahoma City, you can drop your unwanted items for free at their facility at SW 15th & Portland. Just bring your water bill as proof of residency. Check their website or call them before you go for a list of items they accept.

Edmond residents can get one free curbside pick up per year of e-waste and hazardous waste OR you can take your items to the Oklahoma City recycling station mentioned above. Again, one free trip per year. Refer to the website for phone number or to email your request. Residents of other OKC suburbs can check their city’s recycling websites to see what services are offered.

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