NCSC Reveals New Solution to Protect Remote Public Sector Workers

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The UK’s National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) has outlined the creation of a new protective domain name service (PDNS) solution in partnership with Nominet, the official registry for UK domain names.

The service, named PDNS Digital Roaming, is designed to enhance the security of public sector staff working from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The free at the point of use app will extend the protection offered by the original PDNS solution, which is delivered by Nominet, to remote networks.

PDNS has been in place since 2017, and helps keeps public sector organizations secure by hampering the use of DNS for malware distribution and operation. Last year, it was being used by over 760 public sector organizations, protecting an estimated 2.8 million staff.

PDNS Digital Roaming enables these protections to extend to employees working from home by detecting when a device is outside of its enterprise network and redirecting DNS traffic to PDNS, using the encrypted DNS over HTTPS (DoH) protocol. This applies from whichever network employees connect to the internet from.

David Carroll, MD of Nominet’s cybersecurity arm commented: “The NCSC reacted quickly to the challenges that coronavirus presented to the cyber-defense of the nation. For example, elements of the Active Cyber Defense program – including the PDNS, which is delivered by Nominet on behalf of the NCSC – were made available to many more organizations in the past year, including over 200 frontline public health bodies.

“Without a fixed IP address, staff needed another option for accessing the protections of the PDNS – PDNS Digital Roaming has been the answer. This app was launched in September to all those currently eligible to use the PDNS. By installing it on their device, staff can ensure that their DNS traffic is being directed to the PDNS and is thus protected by this innovative service.

“Keeping critical services secure has never been so important. As we position our country as a global digital leader for the future, it will be important to devise solutions that are adaptable as well as highly resilient and secure.”

At the end of last year, Infosecurity spoke to Russell Haworth, CEO of Nominet, about how the company is combatting the rise in malicious domain names since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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