Skip to main content
  • Net Good

Introducing CIRA Canadian Shield

By Spencer Callaghan
Director, Brand & Communications

Free DNS-based privacy and cybersecurity protection

We’re a little biased, but at CIRA, we’ve always believed that the internet is critical to Canada’s success. That said, we never anticipated the day would come when it would literally be the main thread holding the country together.

As our entire economy, education system, government, and society have shifted online, the internet has taken on a whole new level of importance. Much like our system of roads and highways, the internet is now what connects us, and it is more important than ever for us to keep it safe.

For the past few years, CIRA has been branching out from our roots as the stewards of the .CA domain registry to leverage our expertise in the DNS to protect Canadian institutions and businesses. Through our growing portfolio of cybersecurity services, we now protect millions of Canadians in their workplaces and schools from cyber-attacks and phishing attempts.

While the goal of our cybersecurity services has always been to protect Canadians online, there has always been a rather large gap—individual Canadians and their families. Going back to my earlier road analogy (because who doesn’t love analogies) CIRA has worked hard to ensure everyone has access to the roads, and that they are fast and efficient, now we want to make sure they are also safe—for everyone.

So with our mission to build a trusted internet for Canadians in mind, we are proud to share CIRA Canadian Shield with the country. CIRA Canadian Shield is a free, DNS-based privacy and security service that provides the same level of cybersecurity protection that large enterprises typically enjoy to all Canadians.

How does it work? Well, in simple terms, any individual Canadian can point their internet router, computer or mobile device at CIRA’s Canadian DNS nodes and enjoy privacy and cybersecurity protection for free. The good news is that once the service is configured, you might forget all about it. It works quietly in the background keeping you safe with no impact on your internet speed. The only time you’ll know its there is when it blocks something malicious—and then you’ll be glad to see it. To learn more about how to set up CIRA Canadian Shield, read our Configuration Guide.

CIRA Canadian Shield is also available for iOS and Android devices via our dedicated smartphone apps.

So why did we do this? Because the internet is more important than ever, we are working, learning, teaching, and connecting with family via our home networks and personal devices and many of us are doing so without any protection from the hackers, shady advertisers and other bad actors out there. Sadly, hackers aren’t the nicest people in the world and many are using COVID-19-related domains and phishing tactics to trick Canadians into handing over their personal information, or infecting their devices with malware.

CIRA Canadian Shield is the first DNS privacy and security service built exclusively by Canadians, for Canadians. Our nodes are all located in Canada, which means your DNS data doesn’t get answered or stored in another country. Thanks to our partners—Akamai and the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security—we have a comprehensive Canadian and global threat feed that detects malicious links and bad dudes from all over the world.

And here’s the best part, as a Canadian non-profit, CIRA has no interest in selling your personal data or using it to target you with ads—ever. Our only interest is helping Canadians work, learn and connect online safely, and that means you can trust us to keep your data safe. In fact, we only store personally identifiable data (PII) for 24 hours to protect the system from abuse (such as foreign DDoS attacks) and then delete all IP addresses. To learn more about our commitment to privacy, read our Privacy FAQ.

CIRA Canadian Shield is our way of reinforcing our commitment to Canada’s internet, which has never been stronger, nor more critical. We can’t wait for you to try it out, and we look forward to bringing it to as many Canadians as possible.

About the author
Spencer Callaghan

Spencer Callaghan is the senior manager, brand & communications at CIRA. He is a writer, former journalist, and has experience in technology, non-profit, and agency environments throughout his career. His areas of expertise include content marketing, social media, branding, and public relations.