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DNS over HTTPS (DoH) is a relatively new technology that provides an extra layer of security and privacy to the Domain Name System (DNS) protocol by encrypting DNS queries and responses with HTTPS. In this article, we will discuss DNS over HTTPS, how it works, and its benefits.
What is DNS over HTTPS?
DNS is a protocol to translate human-readable domain names into IP addresses that machines can understand. This process is crucial for the functioning of the internet, as it allows users to access websites, send emails, and perform other online activities. However, DNS queries and responses are sent in plaintext, making them vulnerable to interception and manipulation by malicious actors.
DNS over HTTPS (DoH) is a security protocol that encrypts DNS queries and responses with HTTPS, the same protocol used to secure web traffic. By doing so, DoH hides the contents of DNS traffic from prying eyes, making it more difficult for attackers to intercept or tamper with DNS requests.
How Does DNS over HTTPS Work?
DNS over HTTPS is essential to know how DNS queries and responses are transmitted. When a user types a domain name into their web browser, the browser sends a DNS query to a DNS resolver, asking for the IP address of the domain name. The resolver then sends a DNS request to a root server, which forwards it to the appropriate authoritative server for the domain in question. The authoritative server responds to the resolver with the IP address passed back to the user’s browser.
With DNS over HTTPS, this process is a bit different. Instead of sending DNS queries and responses in plaintext, DoH encrypts them with HTTPS. The user’s browser sends a DNS query to a DoH-compatible resolver over an HTTPS connection, which encrypts the query and forwards it to the appropriate authoritative server. The authoritative server then responds with the IP address, which is encrypted and sent back to the user’s browser over the HTTPS connection.
Benefits of DNS over HTTPS
DNS over HTTPS has several benefits, including:
Encrypting DNS queries and responses with HTTPS, DoH prevents malicious actors from intercepting or manipulating DNS traffic. This makes it harder for attackers to carry out man-in-the-middle attacks or inject malicious code into DNS responses.
Because DoH encrypts DNS traffic, it is harder for third-party entities, such as Internet Service Providers (ISPs), to monitor users’ DNS queries and track their online activities.
Compatibility with Firewalls
Some organizations use firewalls to block or monitor certain types of traffic. Because DoH uses the same port as HTTPS traffic (port 443), it is more likely to be allowed through firewalls than unencrypted DNS traffic, which typically uses port 53.
Sample Services – Cloudflare
Cloudflare is one of the foremost providers of DNS over HTTPS (DoH) services, offering encrypted DNS queries and responses to users worldwide. Cloudflare’s DoH service is designed to provide enhanced security and privacy to users while improving the DNS protocol’s performance.
Cloudflare’s DoH service encrypts DNS queries and responses with HTTPS, the same protocol used to secure web traffic. This encryption prevents third-party entities, such as Internet Service Providers (ISPs), from monitoring or intercepting users’ DNS traffic. Additionally, Cloudflare’s DoH service uses the same port as HTTPS traffic (port 443), which makes it more likely to be allowed through firewalls and other network security measures.
In addition to providing enhanced security and privacy, Cloudflare’s DoH service offers improved performance over traditional DNS. This is because DoH queries and responses are sent over a persistent connection, which reduces the latency associated with establishing new connections for each query. Additionally, Cloudflare has a large global network of DNS servers, which can help reduce the time it takes to resolve DNS queries.
Cloudflare’s DoH service is available to anyone who wants to use it and can be easily enabled in most web browsers and other internet-connected devices. Cloudflare also provides an API for developers who want to integrate DoH into their applications.
One of the unique features of Cloudflare’s DoH service is its “188.8.131.52 for Families” option, which provides additional security and filtering for families and other users who want to restrict access to certain types of content. This service blocks access to known malware, phishing sites, and sites with adult content or other potentially harmful material.
Overall, Cloudflare’s DoH service is a powerful tool for anyone looking to enhance the security and privacy of their online activities. By encrypting DNS traffic with HTTPS and providing improved performance and filtering options, Cloudflare is helping make the internet safer and more secure for everyone.
DNS over HTTPS is a security protocol that encrypts DNS queries and responses with HTTPS, providing an extra layer of security and privacy to the DNS protocol. By encrypting DNS traffic, DoH makes it harder for attackers to intercept or manipulate DNS requests and responses. It also protects users’ privacy by making it harder for ISPs to monitor their online activities. While DoH is not a panacea for all online security and privacy issues, it is essential for anyone looking to secure their online activities.
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