More from: DNS

Ransomware

locked-computer-cartoonIn an ideal world, all people would be informed, intelligent, and there would be no sociopaths. But in reality computer users are not normally technically adept: to them their computer is just a thing they use to get work done or for entertainment, and they treat it like a radio, television, or coffee maker. In a real work environment, until something really bad happens, people use Windows XP ten years after Microsoft stopped supporting it, never apply updates as ‘they are too annoying’ and ‘people are busy’, and they click on everything just to see what happens. Readmore..


Protecting Your Web Site from Loss of Business

Yesterday 9/10/2012 the GoDaddy.com DNS servers were not working from about 12:00 noon until around 5:00 pm. This left several million business web sites unavailable, even through the web sites themselves were fine, because the name servers (that point browsers to the web sites by name, e.g. google.com, facebook.com, or jdnash.com) were broken. Although an individual claiming to be a rogue Anomyous “security expert” claimed credit for the outage, GoDaddy revealed that it was an internal error, not an external hack, that scrambled the DNS data. See http://www.networkworld.com/news/2012/091112-godaddy-hack-262342.html for details.

The event can be a wake up call for business, both to back up our web sites and to use a little wiser implementation of DNS servers in our domain registry entries — in particular, to specify name lookup via more than one DNS company so that if one company is unavailable, the other will still work and access to our web sites will be unaffected by a single point failure. Blogger Robert Simpson writes about how to do this on his blog at SpitBall.comhttp://www.spitballs.com/Blog/Entries/2012/9/10_How_To_Keep_Your_Web_Site_Up_During_a_DNS_Outage.html.


GMail for Non-Google Domains

You can have GMail handle your email even if Google is not hosting your web site. See this document for detailed instructions to fit MX Records on GoDaddy.com DNS here: http://support.google.com/a/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=33353&topic=1611273&ctx=topic. There are like instruction sheets for many other registrars here http://support.google.com/a/bin/topic.py?hl=en&topic=1611273. There was also a *VERY* handy tool that looked up the current, working, DNS MX Records for me. It is located here http://www.dnsstuff.com/tools. There are several tools on this page: you want the one called “DNS Lookup”. Enter the domain and click submit. It wants you to join (pay) HOWEVER if you run the tool from the Google help page at http://support.google.com/a/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=140038 it is free.

Finally! Started to change the DNS for a customer at about 18:00 and after the switch was in progress he mentioned his email is hosted on GMail, not his old web host. Now I should have ASKED that question before we began, but we backed out of the switch and I started digging. And digging. And Finally, I Found Instructions at 24:00 for setting up the MX record to point to Google GMail. And very NICE instructions they are, finely documented with pictures and nicely typeset.

The one I needed was for GoDaddy, but there is an extensive list here http://support.google.com/a/bin/topic.py?hl=en&topic=1611273. If you are not clear on what an MX record is, or why it is needed, this explanation http://support.google.com/a/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=140038 is very nice.

So if you are really constrained by your email host, you might consider using GMail: it will still show up as your domain name, but it will work oh so much nicer. And since I have done the research for you, you won’t need to spend 6 hours digging.

Hope this Helps!

–Kubulai