Configure, Block, Relax
For home networks, the service is accessed by changing the DNS settings (see service home page for guides). While this can seem complicated, the reality is that almost anyone can easily do it. Additionally, one of the cybersecurity benefits of changing DNS settings is that it is very difficult for technology luddites to "break" it after you are done. The solution protects you and means fewer trips, or painful phone calls, trying to help family or friends fix their computer problems.
For mobile devices, CIRA Canadian Shield is a simple download in your app store of choice.
How the DNS works
CIRA Canadian Shield blocks threats at the DNS level. The Domain Name System (DNS) provides the core backbone of the Internet by providing the map between easily-readable hostnames (i.e. www.cira.ca) and IP addresses (126.96.36.199). It is essential to the operation of the Internet by enabling the use of logical, human-readable names for locations rather than complex IPv4 or IPv6 addresses that computers understand. Because it is the first (invisible) step in visiting a domain name it is a perfect way to block malicious links.
What does CIRA Canadian Shield do to block threats?
CIRA Canadian Shield is, what is technically called, a policy-enabled recursive resolver. This means that it performs the functions of a recursive server in looking-up and storing the DNS information - also known as a map of the internet. However, it will not provide the answer when the site you are trying to visit is known to contain malware or phishing. Blocking it before it happens is preferable to first getting malicious code and then having it detected and cleaned by anti-virus software. You can think of it like not getting the flu at all rather than treating it with medicine after you are infected.