IBM has been the owner of the 188.8.131.52/8 block of addresses for decades now, and says that they have been waiting for ‘the right project’ for the 184.108.40.206 IP. This is obviously a brandable and easily remembered IP, so it makes sense. According to a recent announcement, IBM is teaming up with Packet Clearing House and the Global Cyber Alliance to launch a new DNS service they are calling Quad9.
DNS, or Domain Name Services, is an essential part of the entire Internet. It takes the domain name people type in, and ‘translates’ it to the IP address where the site is actually stored. In addition, this is a key point for traffic. Bad actors can (and have) targeted DNS services to take down thousands of sites at a time. DNS servers, however, can also analyze certain things about traffic and help to improve overall security.
With security in mind, IBM will offer X-Force threat intelligence capabilities to the service, and the Packet Clearing House will offer the network infrastructure. Finally, the Global Cyber Alliance is going to be working on the development capabilities.
Philip Reitinger, the president and CEO of the Global Cyber Alliance, said, “GCA is an organization focused on reducing system cyber-risk, and we identified DNS filtering as a way to deliver enterprise-level security to consumers and small-to-medium sized businesses. We built a dynamic team of security leaders and were lucky to recruit PCH as our infrastructure partner.”
GCA and PCH worked together to bring the Quad9 concept to IBM. The system is open source, and all the DNS queries will be routed through a secure platform, offering a great baseline of security for traffic that flows through it. There are some significant differences from other popular DNS services.
John Todd, the executive director of Quad9, commented, “While IBM provides a significant and extremely valuable set of malicious hosts to the system that we rely on for their highly vetted and accurate results, we also have 18 other threat intelligence partners who each contribute threats based on their own observations of the malware and phishing landscape. From a performance perspective, Quad9 is launching with an extensive geographic footprint, which makes the latency between these catching resolvers and the end-user base much shorter in many instances.”
Quad9 is operating as a non-profit, which is important for this type of service since many people would question how they were gathering and working with all the data that flows through if they had the profit motive.