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OpenDSN -Good/Bad

by Bob G / February 1, 2007 12:55 AM PST

I just ran across a operation that seems to have some very good features with little if any drawbacks. There is a site that intercepts phishing attempts and opens DSN services. I haven't used it long (1 hour) but I have not detected any side effects. I like the fact that no new software is needed. It is activated by adding two DSN numbers. I would hear from others on its use. I run XP-PRO on DSL. Bob G

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by drat_ninny / February 1, 2007 4:23 AM PST
In reply to: OpenDSN -Good/Bad

Projects like OpenDNS (not DSN BTW) don't really fall into the good or bad category. There are good and bad aspects about it, and it's a judgment call everyone has to make for themselves.

Personally, I think they're overselling their anti-phishing feature quite a bit. I also don't really think that the DNS layer is the proper place/way to address that problem. However, if it stops a few people from being conned out of their retirement funds or something like that, then it has done some good. Their much vaunted cache of domain names could also work against their anti-phishing efforts. If they cache the domain of a phishing site, it could remain in that cache for a very long time if no one spots it.

Also, while I'm glad to see they're very upfront about how they sell advertisements on placeholder pages for mistyped URLs, I'm not a big fan of that practice in general. It's too easy for some advertiser that hasn't found a line yet they won't cross to get in there. They may make a legitimate effort to try and screen out those sorts of companies, but sooner or later a few will get through.

I'm also curious to see if they'll be able to keep up with demand if it spikes. While DNS queries are hardly bandwidth intensive, they do add up if you're talking a few hundred or thousand requests per second. A caching system will help, but it has its limits like anything else. I don't know that advertising revenue will ever be able to cover the costs of bandwidth and hardware needed to maintain everything.

So if people want to use this service, I think they could do far worse. However, I'm not quite sure I'm ready to jump on the bandwagon just yet.

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OpenDNS -- some more information
by pencoyd / February 20, 2007 2:29 AM PST
In reply to: Neither

Thanks for trying OpenDNS, Bob.

on_safari, let me clear up a few things from your comments.

1. OpenDNS does fall into the "good for you" category. I'll explain why.
2. DNS is one great place to stop phishing. It's NOT the only place (for example, IP address based phishes cannot be stopped by DNS), and security is always in layers, but DNS is a great place to block a lot of phishes.
3. Our cache can be viewed AND refreshed by end users at any time, using CacheCheck. So you get the speed benefits of a huge cache, without the potential concerns you raise.
4. The guide pages we provide for DNS errors include search results and sponsored links, clearly labelled. These pages are about getting you where you want to go. There's no tricks. Advertising here is our business, but it's not different from the advertising you experience at Yahoo or Google search results.
5. We've built our service from the ground up to scale. We know that DNS has to be up all the time or your Internet appears to be down. So we can handle the growth... take a look at the stats at Also, our cache hit rate improves the more people who are using us. So scale improves our speed to end users.

OpenDNS is a choice. I hope you'll make it. Wink


John Roberts

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I'll choose to wait and see
by jackson dougless / February 20, 2007 5:42 AM PST

I'm kind of with on_safari on this one. I'm not a fan of the sponsored search thing either, but like on_safari, am willing to acknowledge that you at least clearly identify what they are. Unlike the many other similar services that are just out to make a quick buck. I get that, as much as we'd all love to live in a utopian world where everything was just magically paid for, that's not the world we live in. It takes money to buy the hardware, bandwidth, support staff, etc. Still doesn't mean that I have to like it.

I will be keeping an eye on your little project, and may end up using it some day, who knows. For right now, I'm choosing to wait and see. I have no real complaints with my ISPs DNS system, surprising since it's MSN, so I have no reason to change. However, that all could change tomorrow, so I hope your project manages to thrive. Even if I never make use of it, having it as a contingency is good for me.

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