CIRA looks to expand DNS security in Canada, launches first firewall API integration

Malicious actors have gotten really good at exploiting weaknesses in the Domain Name System (DNS) – the global average costs of DNS attacks have surged 57 per cent over 2017 to $715,000 in 2018 – which is why the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) recently announced an API integration designed to provide additional protection against cyber threats for Canadian SMBs.

“Everyone is using different tools for endpoint protection, firewalls and email security, but they’re still being compromised. DNS is a layer of defence that is under-utilized,” said Mark Gaudet product and business development manager for CIRA. “There is a great opportunity at the DNS level to both identify threats by examining DNS query data and block access to them.”

CIRA’s D-Zone DNS Firewall is integrated with a monitoring and analysis platform belonging to Ottawa-based Field Effect Software. CIRA is hoping it’s the first of many integrations. Gaudet told CDN the organization’s D-Zone DNS Firewall API will allow any Canadian partner to integrate phishing and malware protection directly into their application or customer dashboard.

He indicated Cisco Umbrella is a comparable solution, but CIRA is leaning on the fact that its is home-grown.

Quick facts

  • The DNS plays a key role in a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy. CIRA says 91 per cent of all malware uses the DNS for command and control. DNS protection neutralizes malware.
  • D-Zone DNS Firewall is powered by CIRA’s Canadian DNS footprint and enhanced by Akamai’s global DNS threat feed which blocks 1 million new domains every month for customers in Canada.

“We’ve built our cloud service for the DNS firewall in Canada. All the data is in Canada, stays in Canada, we try to keep the queries in Canada as well. That’s the important thing to remember about DNS, it does reveal a lot of information about your organization,” explained Gaudet, adding CIRA isn’t in the business of commercializing that information. “But you don’t get that guarantee with a lot of other organizations.”

Field Effect’s president Andrew Loschmann told CDN he agreed Cisco Umbrella is a popular product in this space. But the collaboration between CIRA and Field Effect is resulting in a product that is perfect for the Canadian market that’s composed largely by SMBs.

“In contrast to Cisco Umbrella…what we’re building with CIRA, and what they’re building with us, is a greatly simplified turnkey solution that makes a huge difference for businesses,” said Loschmann, adding the relationship with CIRA, which dates back several years, has been nothing but positive.

“CIRA has been a fantastic organization to work with in terms of developer and developer communications,” he said.

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Alex Coop
Alex Coop
Former Editorial Director for IT World Canada and its sister publications.

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