NCSC plans protective DNS service

Government cyber security body aims to create safeguard to keep public authorities away from malicious internet domains

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has set out plans to keep public sector organisations away from internet domains that are sources of malware with a reliable DNS (Domain Name System) resolution service.

Ghostly fingers on laptop keyboardIt has announced that is working with the Government Digital Service and Nominet, the official registry of UK domain names, to get the service in place by February 2017 for organisations connected to the Public Services Network, and by April for those using the internet for online communications.

It will replace the existing Public Services Network (PSN) DNS service and be one of the first to emerge from the NCSC, which recently became active after being created by former Chancellor George Osborne in November of last year. It forms part of the Active Cyber Defence programme, which is emphasising a proactive approach to tackling cyber attacks on the UK.

The DNS, which creates names into IP addresses for accessing websites, can be abused for the distribution and operation of malware. The Protective DNS service will be configured not to resolve any look-ups for domains that are known to be sources of malware, but instead provide a block page with the reason it was blocked, or an error message saying the IP address does not exist.

Savings promise

NCSC said it will be continually updated from a range of government, commercial and community sources, and will be free to UK public authorities. This could provide significant savings for organisations that are currently procuring their own DNS resolution services.

The initial contract will run until September 2018, but NCSC said that it is already looking towards the replacement deal and that users will not have to take action when any transition takes place.

Using the service will not be mandatory, but NCSC said it is strongly advised and instructions on how to connect to the service will be published when it goes live.

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