One of the free services I often recommend to people is Norton ConnectSafe.   It’s a free “DNS” service that helped to protect you from malicious websites.  I use the term “helped” as unfortunately Norton have announced that they’re discontinuing the service as of the 15thNovember!

What does this mean if you’re set up to use Norton ConnectSafe?  Well according to their website:

“Because the ConnectSafe service will be discontinued on November 15, 2018, current users could experience disruption(s) in their browsing experience. If you are a current user, we recommend you complete the following actions prior to the ConnectSafe service termination.”

Great – if you’re a user, your Internet will stop working on the 15th– thanks guys!

So, first of all, how do you find out if you’re using the Norton ConnectSafe service.   Well if you’re on a windows PC you need to use the following instructions:

  • Press the Windows + R keys to open the Run dialog box.
  • Type in ncpa.cpl and then press Enter
  • Right-click the network adapter that is currently active and click Properties. If the User Account Control prompt appears, click Yes or Continue.
  • On the Networking tab, select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) or Internet Protocol (TCP/IP). Click Properties.

Now, if you’re using their service, your DNS servers will be set to

199.85.126.20

199.85.127.20

If you change the option to “Obtain DNS server address automatically” you’ll pick up your Internet Provider’s DNS servers instead and all will be good.

Back to the service though and why it helped.   Whenever you visit a website, you click on or enter the name of the website – for example, in my case support.scotiasystems.com.  This web address then has to be translated to an IP address.   This is where a DNS (Domain Name Server) service comes in – you send it the website name and it gives you back the corresponding IP address.   If you were using Norton’s ConnectSafe DNS service, you would send it the website name, and it would first check it against a list of “bad” websites before sending you back the IP address.   This way you could be warned that you were visiting a dangerous site before you actually reached it!

It was a great service, and I’m sure it saved a lot of my customers from getting spammed/scammed!

So, what can you use instead?   Well there are a few alternatives to Norton ConnectSafe.   My recommendation is for the OpenDNS service (owned by the reputable brand Cisco).   They offer two free tiers “Family Shield” and “Home”.      If you go for the “Family Shield” option, you simply need to replace the two Norton DNS servers using the above instructions with the addresses below:

208.67.222.123

208.67.220.123

You can find more information about OpenDNS at the following site:

https://www.opendns.com/home-internet-security/

And if you’re running a business, they offer advanced packages that can help there too.  I’m hoping the fact that they offer paid for levels of service, means they won’t discontinue the product like Norton did!

It’s another layer of protection on top of what you may already have, and it’s free so why not!

Until next time, check your settings and set yourself up with additional online protection today!

As always, if you need a hand, you can reach me at [email protected]