Although this section is going to explain how to prevent, block, stop and limit malware and adult content websites being viewed on your computer and mobile devices the actual blocker you use will vary in features. For example: If you register a free account with the OpenDNS blocker service you will have more control over the types of website content you can block (i.e. Adult Content websites, Phishing (Identity Theft) websites, Social Media websites and Gambling websites) whereas the Norton ConnectSafe blocker service only has three defined schemes to choose from (A - Security. B - Security + Pornography. And C - Security + Pornography + Other). And if you use your broadband provider's (i.e. TalkTalk's) own blocker service it might be geared more towards specific Parental Controls.
A blocker service works by monitoring the website you are just about to visit and blocks its contents from being viewed if it thinks that website is dangerous. You can override the block if you wish simply because a blocker service only acts a warning/alarm system. It's job is not to block to the contents completely, because it knows you might want to view it for whatever reason(s). Blocker services such as OpenDNS and Norton ConnectSafe need you to change your computer's/router's DNS Server settings in order to function whereas your broadband provider will control things from there end once you have activated (switched on) their blocker service(s) via their website. TalkTalk for example uses a blocker service called HomeSafe. There are other blocker services out there (see below).
Do NOT be put off by the technicals here because it really is a straight forward case of just changing your computer's or router's Domain Name Server (DNS) settings, as you will see from the examples below. The first thing to do is visit the website whose blocker services you are interested in and then take a note of their DNS (Primary DNS and Secondary DNS) IP Addresses:
OpenDNS Primary DNS: 188.8.131.52 Secondary DNS: 184.108.40.206
Norton ConectSafe Primary DNS: 220.127.116.11 Secondary DNS: 18.104.22.168
GreenTeam Internet Primary DNS: 22.214.171.124 Secondary DNS: 126.96.36.199
FoolDNS Primary DNS: 188.8.131.52 Secondary DNS: 184.108.40.206
Dyn Internet Guide Primary DNS: 220.127.116.11 Secondary DNS: 18.104.22.168
Comodo Secure DNS Primary DNS: 22.214.171.124 Secondary DNS: 126.96.36.199
With the DNS (Primary DNS and Secondary DNS) IP Addresses noted (as above) you then need to decide what to protect against bad websites. Individual computers and mobile devices within your home network or all of the computers and mobile devices within your home network. If you only need to protect individual computers and mobile devices you just need to change their own DNS settings (shown below), but if want to protect all computers and mobile devices it is better to just change your router's DNS settings. That way all computers and mobile devices using the same internet connection, and more precisely connected to the same network (i.e. wireless network), wil be protected.
To protect a particular computer, begin by clicking on the START Menu button (Fig 1.0) and selecting the SETTINGS menu-item (Fig 1.1). Doing so will open the SETTINGS control panel window (Fig 1.2) whereby you then need to start typing the words NETWORK CONNECTIONS.
Fig 1.0 - Click on the START Menu button to continue
Fig 1.1 - Click on the SETTINGS menu-item to continue
As you begin typing the edit box will automatically become active with the letter N and so on already inside it, so there is no need to click inside the edit box first. Once the words NETWORK CONNECTIONS have been entered into the edit box click on the button/link called VIEW NETWORK CONNECTIONS (below) to open the Network Connections control panel window (Fig 1.3).
Fig 1.2 - Type NETWORK CONNECTIONS inside the SEARCH edit box and then click on the button/link called VIEW NETWORK CONNECTIONS
When the Network Connections control panel window opens you should see at least two network icons within the Network Connections control panel window. One should be for the Ethernet (Cable) connection (assuming the computer has an Ethernet Card built-in to it) and the other should be for the Wireless (WiFi) connection (assuming the computer has a Wireless Network Card/Adapter built-in to it). You need to right click on the WiFi icon, to bring up its context (Options) menu, in order to then select its PROPERTIES menu-item. Doing so will bring up the WiFi Properties window (Fig 1.4).
Fig 1.3 - Right click on the WIFI icon and select the PROPERTIES menu-item to continue
When the WiFi Properties window opens (below) select the listed item called INTERNET PROTOCOL VERSION 4 (TCP/IPV4), which will then become highlighted in blue, and then click on the PROPERTIES button.
Fig 1.4 - Select the listed item called INTERNET PROTOCOL VERSION 4 (TCP/IPV4) and then click on the PROPERTIES button
Clicking on the PROPERTIES button (above) brings up (opens) the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) window (below) where you first need to look at the option (setting) called OBTAIN DNS SERVER ADDRESS AUTOMATICALLY. It is normally selected by default, but in this case you need to select the option called USE THE FOLLOWING DNS SERVER ADDRESSES instead. From there you then need to type in your two preferred DNS Server IP Address from above. So in this example I am going to type in the Norton ConectSafe IP Addresses - Primary DNS: 188.8.131.52 and Secondary DNS: 184.108.40.206 into their relevant edit boxes. 220.127.116.11 into the PREFERED DNS SERVER edit box and 18.104.22.168 into the ALTERNATIVE DNS SERVER edit box. Once the IP Addesses have been entered click on the OK button, and then click on the CLOSE button of the WiFi Properties window.
Fig 1.5 - Enter the IP Addresses and then click on the OK button
Fig 1.6 - Click on the CLOSE button to continue
At this point you could test your protection straight away by visiting an Adult Content website for example, but sometimes it is best to reboot/restart your computer or mobile device first, and perhaps your router too, before testing. This is because sometimes the computer, mobile device and/or router need their old/internal/additional DNS Server settings removed (flushed out) before new internal (behind the scenes) DNS Server settings can be applied/created. This can be done using the DOS command ipconfig /flushdns (see below).
Below I have tested Norton ConnectSafe against an Adult Content website to see if it would be blocked, and it was. Norton ConnectSafe redirected the web browser (Microsoft Edge) to its Warning/Alert Message webpage.
Fig 1.7 - Norton ConnectSafe has blocked the bad website from being viewed
If you look closely at the Warning/Alert Message webpage the bad website can still be viewed by clicking on the CLICK HERE link to the right-side of the wording: IF YOU THINK THIS WEBSITE IS CATEGORIZED INCORRECTLY. Remember, this is because a blocker service is only a warning mechanism and not an 'absolutely block the website' program. You need to use Internet Security and Parental Control software for example if you require that level of security. So take a blocker service for what it is - A warning mechanism/system.
If you need to flush out old DNS Server settings begin by opening a DOS Command Prompt window - Either right click on the cmd.exe file, located in the System32 folder, and select RUN AS ADMINISTRATOR or right click on the START Menu button and select the COMMAND PROMPT (ADMIN) menu-item. Either method will open a Dos Command Prompt window with Administrator Rights (Permissions) associated with it.
Fig 1.8 - Right click on the START Menu button and then select the COMMAND PROMPT (ADMIN) menu-item
When the DOS Command Prompt window appears you need to type the DOS Command ipconfig /flushdns and then press the ENTER keyboard key. Doing so will execute (run) that dos command, which flushes out the old/internal DNS Server settings.
Fig 1.9 - The DOS Command Prompt window
Fig 1.10 - Type the DOS Command ipconfig /flushdns into the window and then press the ENTER keyboard key
Fig 1.11 - The old/internal DNS Server settings have been flushed out (erased)
If the flush did not work (i.e. bad websites are still not being blocked) you may have to restart/reboot your computer, mobile device and/or router to resolve those issues/problems. It could just be that the blocker service does not block "every bad website" for example. Or it could be that they only work at router level and not on an individual device level, in which case changing the router's DNS Server settings might be the solution. If that is the case, make sure the OBTAIN DNS SERVER ADDRESS AUTOMATICALLY setting is selected (made the default setting) in the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) window (see Fig 1.5 above) before proceeding to change router DNS Server settings.
To enter DNS Server settings into a router you first need to gain access to its Control Panel. This is done by typing the router's IP Address into your web browser's Address Bar edit box (Fig 1.12) and then clicking on the web browser's GO button (or by pressing the ENTER keyboard key). Either way you will see the router's Login Page (Fig 1.13 below) where you then have to type in the router's User Name and Password before clicking on the LOGIN button.
The router's IP Address will start with 192.168 and might be 192.168.1.0, 192.168.1.1, 192.168.1.2, 192.168.0.1 or something similar (read your router's documentation for more information). Once you have done that you will be prompted for the router's Username Password (login details), which should be admin and admin, admin and password or admin and a blank password. If not, it may mean someone or something has changed those details.....
Fig 1.12 - Type your router's IP Address into Microsoft Edge's Address Bar edit box and then press ENTER
Fig 1.13 - Type your router's User Name and Password into the relevant edit boxes and then click on the LOGIN button
Assuming you are now logged in (signed in) to your router, and can therefore see its Control Panel, the next step is to locate its DNS Server settings and more specifically its Primary and Secondary DNS Server settings (IP Addresses). In this example I need to click on the DCHP menu (heading/title) of the TP Link TL-WR1043ND router's control panel in order to change the Primary and Secondary DNS Server settings (IP Addresses) later. I could also click on the DHCP Settings menu-item (sub-menu/heading/title), but in this case it would be useless simply because doing so would take me to the same page.
Fig 1.14 - Locate your router's Primary and Secondary DNS Server settings (IP Addresses), usually under its DHCP menu/heading/title.
Now that the router's Primary and Secondary DNS Server settings have been found, whose edit boxes may be empty or contain zeros only, type in your two preferred DNS Server IP Address from above. In this example I am going to type in the GreenTeam Internet IP Addresses - Primary DNS: 22.214.171.124 and Secondary DNS: 126.96.36.199 into their relevant edit boxes. 188.8.131.52 into the PREFERED DNS SERVER edit box and 184.108.40.206 into the ALTERNATIVE DNS SERVER edit box. Once the IP Addesses have been entered click on the OK button, and then click on the CLOSE button of the WiFi Properties window.
Fig 1.15 - Enter the IP Addresses into their respective Primary and Secondary DNS Server edit boxes and then click on SAVE
Fig 1.16 - Click on the OK button to continue
Fig 1.17 - Click on the CLICK HERE (or REBOOT) button/link to continue
Fig 1.18 - Click on the OK button to reboot/restart the router
Fig 1.19 - The router is now restarting in order to use the new DNS Settings
When the router has completed its restart/reboot and applied the new DNS Settings, the next step is to test the protection. In the example below I tested the same website as above, in Fig 1.7, to see if GreenTeam Internet would block the same website and it did. Just like before, the web browser (Microsoft Edge) was redirected to a Warning/Alert Message webpage. However, in this case I would have to e-mail GreenTean Internet if I thought they had got their facts wrong. I could not simply click on a CLICK HERE link, like with Norton ConnectSafe.
Fig 1.20 - GreenTeam Internet has blocked the bad website from being viewed
If you really must test the full power of the protection, for your childrens safety for example, you could go to (test) a really nasty website; which I DO NOT ADVISE you to do unless you know what you will be risking - Your computer being virus infected, your data being deleted, your system becoming corrupt or even worse your partner catching you watching something you shouldn't be.....
I actually did further tests with the above exampled blocker services and both worked every time.....so luckily my eyesight and thoughts stayed intact! If you want more control over what website content is and isn't protected against (i.e. Gambling, Drug, etc websites) you should look into the blocker service's registration/accounts, some free and some pay-for, and website filtering options/schemes so that you can use their control panel to select and deselect genres. OpenDNS is one example.
Fig 1.21 - OpenDNS give you the ability to block certain genres of website content
Remember to check your broadband provider's blocker service(s) too. As said, TalkTalk have one called HomeSafe, which is split into VIRUS ALERTS, KIDS SAFE and HOMEWORK TIME.