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What Is Quad9, And Why Is It Good For Business?

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IBM has launched a free service that aims to protect people from online security threats. Called Quad9, this new service could be a major benefit for both individuals and businesses. Here’s why…


Proving that the best things in life really are free, IBM, along with two partner organisations, has gifted the world a new security service – Quad9.

Put simply, it works by filtering out unsafe web addresses. Sites that spread viruses or try to steal personal information are blocked, and users are thereby protected from harm. If it works as well as it’s hoped it will, it could dramatically reduce the number of computer security incidents that occur every year and which can lead to significant financial losses – particularly for businesses.

How Does Quad9 Work?

To understand what Quad9 is and how it works, it’s first necessary to know roughly how the web works.

Every website has its own unique IP (Internet Protocol) address. This is a long string of numbers, which tells web browsers and computers where they can find the websites they’re looking for. But numbers like 245.143.148.13 aren’t easy to remember, so the web uses a system called DNS (Domain Name System) to make things simpler.Connected devices - Quad9

This, essentially, works like a giant address book. Whenever you type a web address (known as a URL – Uniform Resource Locator) into your web browser, it will connect to a DNS server, find the URL, then see what IP address is associated with it. You’re then taken to the website you requested.

These DNS servers are run by various organisations – some commercial, some not – but they all work in the same way. Where Quad9 differs is that it checks URLs and IP addresses against a database of known threats. Sites that are known to host malware like viruses and trojans, for example, are blocked.

Who Is Involved In Quad9?

As well as IBM, Quad9 involves Packet Clearing House and the Global Cyber Alliance (GCA). Packet Clearing House is a non-profit research institute, which provides analysis of all things internet and network related. The Global Cyber Alliance, meanwhile, aims to fight malicious cyber activity, and is made up of businesses, public sector bodies and more.

How Do You Use Quad9?

To start using this service, you need to change your DNS settings to 9.9.9.9. How you do this will depend on your network type and the particular hardware you use. Once set up, though, all URLs you visit will be filtered through the Quad9 DNS server.

Where Does Quad9 Get Its Information From?

Quad9 relies on predefined lists of suspicious or blacklisted sites, so it’s important that this is both accurate and up to date. Thankfully, the database is the work of more than a dozen cyber security organisations, who each contribute vital intelligence to the project.

Will Quad9 Work?

One possible fly in the ointment is that DNS filtering is a retroactive solution. If a malware site is brand new, then it probably won’t be on a blacklist immediately. Instead it will have to be spotted, identified and then added.

The good news is that updating the DNS records should be fast, and with so many experts working on it, chances are Quad9 will be every bit as useful as expected.

Does Quad9 Keep Your Data?

When you use a DNS server, your web browsing habits are passed on to it. In some cases, that data is then sold commercially. In others, that information isn’t stored at all. It just depends on who owns the server and what their intentions are. According to Quad9’s official statement, “Information about the websites consumers visit, where they live and what device they use are often captured by some DNS services and used for marketing or other purposes. Quad9 won’t “store, correlate, or otherwise leverage” personal information.”


Not sure what to do next? Fill out the TMB contact form to find out if we can help. Alternatively, call us on 0333 900 9050 or send us a message via social media.

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TMB Privacy Policy

Why do we hold personal data?

Like any business, TMB Group has to keep personal data about staff, clients and potential customers. When you fill in the contact form on our website, for example, we need to keep a record so we can get back to you. Data is also held so we can deliver our services and so we can provide useful information, such as security update news.

What data do we keep?
Depending on our relationship with you, we’ll hold information such as your first and last names, your email address, your phone number and your postal address. We will also possibly have details about your business and those who work for you. If you’re a customer, then we may have some of your banking detail so we’re able to accept payments for the services we provide.

How is your data stored?

As a responsible IT company, TMB stores personal data on secured computer systems. Anything that is archived will be placed on encrypted drives.

We do use third-party customer management software, Autotask, which means data may be stored on their servers, but only the data we need to deliver our services. The same goes for the Microsoft services we use, such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, which store information on Microsoft’s cloud servers. We also use Mailchimp for marketing purposes: to send emails and to manage subscriber lists.

These third parties are not permitted to share your data or to use it for marketing purposes. You can find Autotask’s privacy policy here: https://www.autotask.com/privacy-policy. Microsoft’s privacy policy for Office 365 is here: https://www.microsoft.com/online/legal/v2/?docid=43. Mailchimp’s policy is here: https://mailchimp.com/legal/privacy.

How long do we keep your data?

We will keep your data in our systems until it is no longer relevant to our business, but you can request that we remove or update it at any time. We will also inform any relevant third parties of your request.

Access to your information

The key thing to remember is that your data belongs to you. That means you can request copies of your personal data any time you like, or to access and update it. You also have the right to be forgotten, so if you ask that we delete your data, we will do so or provide a valid reason why we are unable to. We will, of course, require proof of your identity before addressing any such request.

Depending on your request, your information may be provided to you electronically. In such cases, it will be provided in a commonly used format.

Unsubscribing and deletion

Unsubscribing is not the same as a request for us to delete personal data. If, for example, you unsubscribe from a mailing list, it is necessary to keep your email address on record to prevent marketing email from being sent to you. If we were to delete that information, we would have no way to tell if you have unsubscribed. Nevertheless, you still have the right to request erasure of your personal data.

Your right to complain

If, for any reason, you are unhappy with the way your personal data is treated by us, you have the right to complain to a supervisory authority. In the UK, that would be the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Website analytics

Anyone who visits our website will automatically have data about them collected via Google Analytics. This gives us broad information about what people are doing on our website and which pages they are looking at. It does not provide us with personal information that could be used to identify individuals.

Cookies

Cookies are small text files that web browsers receive from websites. They are stored on your computer, and they enable sites to do things like remember if you’ve visited before, if you’re a customer, what your preferences are and so on. You are entitled to view our website without them, but you may lose this kind of functionality if you do so.

International data transfers

Information that we collect may be stored and processed in and transferred between any of the countries in which we operate in order to enable us to use the information in accordance with this privacy policy.

Data controllers and processors

TMB is the controller for marketing activity and personal data/special category data we hold on our own employees, but we are the processor when processing our customers’ personal data (e.g. buying a licence for a named individual).  We  may use sub-processors for processing data given to us by customers.

What we won’t ever do is sell your data. And if you sign up to our mailing list, you’ll only receive marketing material from TMB as a result – no one else.

For any questions regarding your data, contact TMB’s technical director, Richard Shuker, at info@tmb.co.uk or write to us at A1 Endeavour Business Park, Penner Road, Havant, Hampshire, PO9 1QN..