On the internet, the Domain Name System (DNS) is the way regular people access websites such as ESPN.com or BBC.com. However, the internet uses a unique series of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses to access websites which are tricky for humans to remember.  Web browsers typically interact with websites through IP addresses, and DNS translates websites into IP addresses so browsers can access Internet resources. Historically, this has been done in the form of unencrypted clear text that ISPs and security providers such as McAfee can read and act upon to sort through risky websites or to improve network performance and intelligence.

However, this also opens up vulnerabilities of security and privacy.  As an industry, (Apple, Microsoft, Google, and others) participants are moving toward encrypting this traffic to and from DNS servers with protocols such as DNS over TLS (DoT) and DNS over HTTPS (DoH). Unless the ISP offers DoT/DoH decryption (translation) capabilities, traffic could go directly to outside DNS providers such as Google DNS and Cloudflare who do. Without this visibility, unsafe websites cannot be seen and blocked using DNS filtering technology. Customers can visit sites created by criminals that can trick them to steal their account credentials, download ransomware, or show inappropriate content to their kids.

We’re advancing our Secure Home Platform (SHP) technology to future proof the ability for our partners to protect their customers, their families, and their connected home devices. McAfee is the first in the market to build and introduce this technology. McAfee and OpenXchange have partnered to provide an integration of a forwarder/translator (PowerDNS) with the home router-based SHP product that will make it possible to keep the traffic within the ISP network, as shown in the diagram below – allowing DNS filtering even in encrypted DNS environments.

The ISP can continue to read the traffic and stands to benefit in several ways:

  • Continued ability to offer security protections such as anti-virus, malware filtering, blocking phishing attempts, distinguishing legitimate services, content caching, and parental controls. McAfee Secure Home Platform protects customers/homes from potential harm from an average of 70 potential threats per week
  • Helps defend against DDoS, man-in-the-middle, and botnet attacks
  • More streamlined DoH connections – more private and secure, especially important to sophisticated consumers
  • Locate content based on user demand, and hence improve performance
  • The ISP is not burdened by support issues caused by traffic going outside their network and purview, e.g., to a third-party DNS provider – fewer unhappy customers and support calls due to fewer security incidents.
  • Help comply with Government regulations – block bad actors, terrorist websites, illegal file-sharing, child abuse, national security, court-ordered regulatory blocklists, ban foreign gambling, etc.

Consumers in turn benefit from these additional capabilities that ISPs can provide in security, privacy, and performance.

If you are interested in McAfee’s exciting new DoT-DoH technology for the Secure Home Platform, please contact your McAfee Account Representative for further details.

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