“The internet’s fastest, privacy first consumer DNS service,” claims the web security provider
Cloudflare has launched a free domain name system (DNS) service that aims to do away with slow internet browsing, while protecting consumer data from network providers and cyber-attacks like denial-of-service (DoS).
Announced in a blog post earlier this week, the so-called privacy-focused DNS tool – named 188.8.131.52 – is part of a research project into how the DNS operates, running in partnership with the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC).
DNS is effectively the internet’s phone book. It directs users to a website’s IP address after receiving a request to do so – a crucial aspect of the internet’s infrastructure that means you don’t have to remember any of the long numerical labels yourself.
Now available to install worldwide, 184.108.40.206 is offering an alternative to public DNS services like Google’s 220.127.116.11, which has been praised for both its security and anti-censorship workarounds, but perhaps falls short on trustworthiness since a user’s browser data is still maintained by Google.
Whether the Cloudflare option is more privacy conscious remains yet to be seen, but the DNS is currently responding in a time of 14 milliseconds, as opposed to Google’s 34 milliseconds, reported The Verge.
“The insecurity of the DNS infrastructure struck the team at Cloudflare as a bug at the core of the internet,” Matthew Prince, Cloudflare CEO, wrote in a statement. “So we set out to do something about it.”
“Cloudflare's business has never been built around tracking users or selling advertising,” he said, explaining how the DNS service would wipe browsing data within 24 hours and deploy an auditing system to ensure transparency.
Geoff Huston, APNIC’s chief scientist, added that the DNS project would run for an initial five-year period, allowing the two groups to produce answers related to functionality and look to improve the somewhat aging but widely accepted protocols.
He said: “We are aware that the DNS has been used to generate malicious denial of service attacks, and we are keen to understand if there are simple and widely deployable measures that can be taken to mitigate such attacks.
“The DNS relies on caching to operate efficiently and quickly, but we are still unsure as to how well caching actually performs.
“We are also unclear how much of the DNS is related to end user or application requirements for name resolution, and how much is related to the DNS chattering to itself.
“Are we constructing a DNS to meet the performance expectations of end users, or one that is sized to a completely different set of requirements?
“We are keen to investigate these and other related questions about the operation of the DNS.”