Security Corner

Jul 19 2010   1:28AM GMT

Sunbelt’s ClearCloud DNS Sneak Peek



Posted by: Ken Harthun
Tags:
ClearCloud DNS
DNS spoofing
Malicious Website
OpenDNS
Sunbelt Software

Sunbelt Software, maker of Vipre Anti-Malware software, is about to release a new DNS service, ClearCloud DNS, that is designed to prevent users from  inadvertently accessing dangerous websites. The service is so new, that Sunbelt hasn’t even finished building their website about it. As I write, the “What is ClearCloud?” page on their site, http://clearclouddns.com, still has Greek text in place–you know, the “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Fusce auctor mollis luctus” stuff. However, one server at 74.118.212.1 is functional at this time.

They do have some information in their FAQ:

What is ClearCloud™?
ClearCloud is a service that provides safe and reliable web browsing by preventing you from going to websites that are known to perform malicious activity. It’s like having a GPS in your car that won’t let you turn down a street with known criminal activity.

How does it work?
At heart, ClearCloud is a DNS server. DNS stands for Domain Name System. Every website on the planet is located by a number address, known as an IP address, similar to a phone number. For example, Sunbelt’s IP address is 64.128.133.180. While some folks can remember the phone numbers of all of their friends and family, most of us save phone numbers in our cell phone by their names.

DNS works the same way. It’s really a big phone book of all the IP addresses and website names, known as URLs (Universal Resource Locator), the address “name” of the website. It’s much easier to remember “www.sunbeltsoftware.com” than to remember “64.128.133.180.”

I’ve been using OpenDNS for a couple of years with filters enabled, but it appears that Sunbelt Software is being proactive about not even listing the DNS addresses of known malicious sites. Malware that assumes you’re just using regular DNS may try to trick you with a spoofed address like CityBank.com to get you to go to a bad site. That site won’t be available if you use ClearCloud DNS.

I’ll keep you posted on this, but if you’d like to check it out, you can visit their site and see for yourself.

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