Review: CIRA Canadian Shield

Those who have been following this blog for years know that I am no fan of using the the DNS severs provided my any ISP that I am doing business with. That’s because my present ISP is Rogers, and about 12 years ago they were caught redirecting mistyped URLs to their own search page. Presumably to make a few bucks. And Rogers main competition Bell was caught doing something similar. The problem is that this sort of behavior by ISP’s is a huge security risk. Now I don’t know if they still do that. But to be safe, I don’t use the DNS of any ISP and instead use a third party DNS service that promises privacy.

Now I’ve a variety of third party DNS services over the years. But none of them were Canadian. That changed when I became aware of the CIRA Canadian Shield via the two outages that Canadian ISP Cogeco had recently which were DNS related. And the fix was to use a third party DNS server. Here’s what Canadian Shield promises:

  • It blocks threats like phishing and malware via a partnership with Akamai.
  • They won’t sell your browsing data.
  • It’s built in Canada, using Canadian data centers to keep data in Canada, for the benefit of Canadians.

And they offer three levels of protection:

  • Private: DNS resolution service that keeps your DNS data private from third-parties.
  • Protected: Includes Private features and adds malware and phishing blocking.
  • Family: Includes Protected and Private features and blocks pornographic content.

I tested the Protected level of protection to see how well that worked. I used these instructions to set it up on my router. But they also have apps for Android and iOS for mobile users. It took pretty much minutes to get this done on my home network, and here’s my observations:

  • DNS resolution is quick and easily competitive with similar services that are based outside of Canada.
  • Resolving DNS addresses were trouble free. I could get to any website I wanted to.
  • I tried to go to some known phishing sites and I could not get them to pop up.

I then switched to the Family level of protection and I then tested to see if it blocked pornographic content. And that worked perfectly. The bottom line is that this service works as advertised.

A couple other things of note, the privacy policy is simple, clear, and straightforward and I see no red flags with it. The terms of conditions also has no red flags in it. And the best part is all of this is free. I’ve switched to Canadian Shield full time and I would recommend this service to any Canadian who wants to browse in a more secure manner without having their browsing habits observed and sold by their ISP.

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