If you created a list with the top 10 most critical technologies that allowed the internet to work, DNS (Domain Name System) would make the list. DNS is a technology that is used on every computer, every mobile device, and in every household where there is an internet connection. DNS is the phone book of the internet. When you type in www.sikich.com, your computer goes to it’s local “phonebook” DNS server, and flips through the pages for www.sikich.com. Once it finds that address, it looks up the associated IP address (similar to a phone number). Your computer then goes to that IP address and gives you the website you were searching for, in this case, www.sikich.com.
Because DNS was such a critical and core piece of technology, the IT world sat up and took notice in November of this year when Microsoft announced they would be making changes to improve user privacy. Microsoft announced they would be adopting DNS over HTTPS (also known as DoH).
DNS over HTTPS Privacy
What privacy concerns does DoH resolve? After all, if someone looks up a website address, how would there be any room for a breach of privacy? The answers to these question are scarier than you may think.
Think of it this way; suppose you had a very rare health condition that you did not want anyone to know about, and you needed to speak privately to a specialized doctor. With standard DNS, you would walk up to the phone book, look up that doctor’s phone number, and any person standing next to you could video record everything you were doing. That person then sells the information that you contacted a specialized doctor to third parties. These third parties will use the information to start sending you junk mail to use their doctors, pharmacies, hospitals, etc. On the other hand, with DoH, you walk up to the phone book, close the door to the phone booth, and the person with the video camera has no idea what you are doing or searching for.
Even though what you do on the internet is secure and encrypted and cannot be seen by a 3rd party, there is lots of valuable information that can be obtained simply by knowing what websites addresses you are looking up.
Microsoft mentioned in their press release that “we have to treat privacy as a human right. We have to have end-to-end cybersecurity built into technology. We also believe that Windows adoption of encrypted DNS will help make the overall Internet ecosystem healthier.”
If you’d like to learn more about DNS over HTTPS, you can read the Microsoft release or ask one of the many experts here at Sikich!