What is Quad9?

© Quad9
© Quad9

Quad9 is a free Domain Name System package that automatically blocks malicious websites

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The swelling ranks of Domain Name System server providers was recently bolstered by the arrival of a newcomer called Quad9.

The Quad9 Domain Name System (DNS) is a free security service developed by IBM Security in collaboration with non-profit research bodies Packet Clearing House and the Global Cyber Alliance - with the latter group including some law enforcement and government agencies.

It helps to protect users from common cyber threats and improves system performance by automatically blocking access to websites that are known to be malicious.

How Quad9 works

Quad9 provides security for DNS queries, the system that a computer uses to translate IP addresses into readable websites.

Default DNS configurations can be insecure at the enterprise level, and they are often the target of distributed denial of service attacks.

Quad9 is designed to provide an extra level of protection. The service helps to protect users from cyber attacks by automatically blocking websites that are known to steal personal information, infect users with malware, or conduct fraudulent activity.

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It does this by routing DNS queries through a secure network of servers around the world. It draws on threat intelligence gathered from a selection of cyber security companies to provide a real-time risk assessment of each website you visit, and blocks access to any it knows to be infected.

The system provides increased security for individuals, business users and their customers across networks, devices, digital assets and IoT products.

Why choose Quad9?

The developers of Quad9 say it offers a higher level of security to that of its competitors.

The service blocks an average of 30,000 websites per day, by checking them against IBM X-Force's threat database of more than 40 billion web pages and images and additional intelligence provided by more than 18 cyber security partners.

Quad9 may also have an edge on online privacy protection. It doesn't store or leverage any personally identifiable information from its users, unlike other DNS services that capture information about the websites you visit, the device you use and your location.

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It also promises to maintain the speed of access that internet users have come to expect, by having points of presence in over 70 locations across 40 countries at its launch, a total it expects to double over the next 18 months. Speed tests run by dnsperf rank Quad9 second behind OpenDNS on a list of nine leading DNS services.

Most people use the ISP default instead of moving to an alternative provider, but switching to Quad9 is a fairly straightforward process.

How to set up Quad9

You can set up Quad9 through a simple configuration change of your existing DNS service. 

Just change the DNS settings on your device or router to point to the IP address 9.9.9.9, the number from which Quad9 draws its name.

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The exact configuration will depend on your network configuration. Quad9 has provided detailed guidance on the installation through YouTube guides for both Mac OS and Windows.

Users who need further assistance with the onboarding process can email the company at [email protected].

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