Free Quad9 DNS service aims to make threat intel more accessible

IBM Security, the Global Cyber Alliance and Packet Clearing House are offering the automated security solution for free with individuals and SMBs in mind.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

With cybercrime taking a significant toll on the world economy, large enterprises have the option of using DNS to protect against threats. However, the cost of subscribing to threat intelligence feeds, or paying a commercial provider to identify and block malicious sites, often puts the solution out of reach for individuals and small businesses.

"Small to medium-sized businesses and consumers have been left behind," Philip Reitinger, President and CEO of the Global Cyber Alliance (GCA), said in a statement. "They lack the resources, are not aware of what can be done with DNS, or are concerned about exposing their privacy and confidential information."

With that in mind, the GCA has partnered with IBM and Packet Clearing House (PCH) to launch Quad. The free DNS service taps into threat intelligence feeds and filters out sites known to steal personal information, infect users with ransomware and malware, or conduct fraudulent activity.

The automated security service was also built with privacy in mind. It doesn't store or correlate any personally identifiable information (PII) from users, or leverage user information the way other DNS services do.

Once the GCA devised the Quad9 DNS service, it turned to PCH to provide the network infrastructure and IBM to provide access to the IBM X-Force threat intelligence database, which includes more than 40 billion analyzed web pages and images. IBM also provides the easily memorable IP address ( To set up Quad9, a user just has to change their DNS settings on their device or router.

In addition to checking sites against IBM X-Force's threat intelligence database, Quad9 also taps into feeds from 18 additional threat intelligence partners including Abuse.ch, the Anti-Phishing Working Group, Bambenek Consulting, F-Secure, mnemonic, Netlab, Payload Security, Proofpoint, RiskIQ, and ThreatSTOP.

Relying on PCH's global presence, the service has points of presence in over 70 locations across 40 countries. Over the next 18 months, its points of presence are expected to double.

Quad9 will share telemetry data on blocked domains with threat intelligence partners.

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