A major concern for most parents is what content their children are accessing on the internet while at home. This situation has only been worsened by the current #StayHome directive from Government which has led to the shutdown of all schools.
There are multiple ways to effectively block access to harmful content; depending on the applications in use you can effectively block access to PG rated content by using inbuilt parental controls. This is especially true for streaming apps like Showmax and Netflix.
The bigger concern comes when you have unfettered access to the internet on mobile devices. This is the case for most children currently as they have access to smart phones, tablets and laptops. You could invest in a home firewall or a virtual cloud firewall from your internet service provider. This however will most likely attract an additional charge. There however is hope for all concerned parents. You can easily restrict access to content online for free by changing the DNS servers in use.
DNS servers, simply put, translate names to machine addresses and therefore allow for your computer/phone to access internet resources. Most DNS services focus mostly on accuracy and speed above all. This is because the response speed of a DNS server greatly impacts the internet access speeds. To achieve some level of protection for your home network, you can look at using one of the below services;
1. CLOUDFLARE DNS FOR FAMILIES - Cloudflare recently launched a new version of its free DNS (Domain Name System) service called Cloudflare 188.8.131.52 for Families that blocks adult content and malware before your browser ever has a chance to load it.
2.OPENDNS – This is a Cisco product that comes in 2 flavours a free version and a paid version. The free version (FamilyShield) offers protection from adult content.
3. COMODO SECURE DNS – Comodo Secure DNS’s cloud-based Dome Shield Gold package is free (up to 300,000 monthly DNS requests). This gets you: Protection against malicious domain requests and IP responses, Security from advanced threats like phishing, malware, malicious sites, botnets, C&C callback events, spyware, drive-by-downloads, XXS-injected sites, cookie stealing, anonymizers, TOR encrypted files and web attacks.
THE NEXT QUESTION WOULD BE, HOW DO I SET THIS UP? THIS IS EASIER THAN YOU THINK, JUST NEEDS 5 SIMPLE STEPS;
STEP 1: Pick your home router/modem and check for the admin console, username and password. This is on the bottom of most modems (Zuku and Safaricom).
STEP 2: Go to the IP address used to access your router’s admin console in your browser and enter the username and password.
STEP 3: Find the place in the admin console where DNS settings are set.
STEP 4: Replace the existing addresses with the selected DNS servers.
STEP 5: Save and exit.
In the ongoing Covi-19 pandemic, the use of internet based tools for work and school has increased dramatically. This is already causing a paradigm shift in how we work and relate to each other. These simple steps will not completely secure your home network but will act as a frontline defence against unwanted and inappropriate material.
Increased protection would need the installation of a firewall to provide more granular controls as well as protect your work assets. The use of a proper antivirus system cannot be emphased enough as the number of attacks has skyrocketed during this period.