A lot of people are starting to use Smart DNS instead of the traditional methods of accessing geo-blocked content. However people still seem to overlook the huge potential risks in using these free codes and servers that conveniently appear on the internet.
But first let us back track and attempt to give a short overview of Smart DNS and what it’s actually used for. It is basically the next step in the war against web sites who want to control access to their content based on your location. If configured correctly it has the potential to give anyone access to sites like BBC, HBO, ABC, ITV, Pandora and Netflix irrespective or where you live. SO you can watch the US version of Netflix from Ottowa, then switch to the UK only version of BBC iPlayer without any problems.
Of course, VPNs and proxies already allow this – however the beauty of the Smart DNS proxy solution is that it works almost seamlessly in the background and can be enabled on virtually any network enabled device. In the past, people have searched how to get proxy or VPN authentication working on games consoles, iPads, mobile phones or Smart TVs. This can often be very difficult and sometimes it’s virtually impossible. With Smart DNS it’s not required, simply change your DNS server and it’s done, it takes minutes and then it’s done – watch this for a demo.
It’s easy to see why it’s becoming more popular, incredibly easy to use and you can simply set and forget. However it’s important to understand how this actually works and you’ll find the majority of smart dns reviews somewhat lacking in explanations.
How Smart DNS Works
To properly consider the risks of using this technique, it’s obviously useful to have an idea of how it works. Instead of using your standard DNS server usually assigned by your ISP on connection, you are instead forwarding all DNS requests (the lookups that tell your computer where to find a certain web site) to a specially configured Smart DNS server. This server will run a DNS forwarder (such as DNSmasq) which will intercept certain domain names, these will be typically the geo-blocked sites like BBC, Hulu and Netflix.
All other requests will be resolved normally, however any request for the specific geo-blocked sites will be routed to a remote proxy in the correct location. So for example if you request a video from BBC iPlayer your browser will automatically be redirected to a UK proxy where the connection will be made. If you then switch to Hulu, your request will be redirected to a US based proxy instead. Basically you will be rerouted to specific servers using the DNS forwarder – this will all be done in the background.
It’s a very simple and clever technological work around, a well configured and fast Smart DNS server works incredibly well. You’ll be redirected through a proxy when you need to be to access the site, otherwise the DNS requests will be resolved normally.
So are there any risks to this method?
Unfortunately there are, simply because you are giving a third party server almost complete control of your web browsing. There is absolutely nothing to stop this server from rerouting any web request you make – here’s an example.
- You type in paypal/home banking site into your web browser as you want to pay some bills.
- The Smart DNS server reroutes your connection to a different website where a mirror of Paypal/your bank site is stored.
- You login to the fake version of the website using your username and password.
- Your account details are stolen and your account accessed.
If it was done well, you would be completely unaware of this happening. You will have given the Smart DNS server complete control of your browsing and the ability to decide which web site it sends you to.
This is the main issue (although there are some others), the fact that anyone can knock together a Smart DNS server and use it to steal usernames and passwords quickly and easily. All they need to do is release it on the net and post a few ‘found these free dns codes’ type messages on social media sites like Facebook and Youtube, they’ll soon have a flood of potential victims. It’s an incredibly profitable cybercrime, people can have their various accounts plundered, identity stolen whilst thinking they’re getting a great deal whilst watching the BBC for free!
Remember changing your DNS setting hands over complete control of all your web browsing.
So back to the main question – is smart dns safe ? Well if you’re using free DNS codes found on random posts on internet forums and bulletin boards no almost certainly not. They have the same inherent risk that using free proxies and vpns have – basically why would people do this for free, well they don’t there will always be an ulterior motive usually involving your personal details.
Of course the commercial Smart DNS services are a completely different matter. They are on the whole run by legitimate companies who secure their DNS servers and the proxies that they route through. The problem with these is not whether they are legitimate, but the fact that they are easier to block than VPN services. For example Netflix have waged war on all methods of bypassing their region locks and 99% of Smart DNS services stopped working in 2016. The technology is unfortunately much more vulnerable to blocking than the VPN services like Identity Cloaker, and of course doesn’t offer any encryption or security to your connection.
Still there’s no doubt it is easier to set up than a VPN on things like Smart TVs and media streamers so a commercial Smart DNS service is still useful to many people. However you should always check first that it works with the media sites you require, many don’t work with the BBC too.
At the moment you can try out a Smart DNS proxy review for free on probably the most advanced Smart DNS system (only one that works with Netflix) –
FREE Trial of Smart DNS
Try it out and see how it works for you.