The folks at Apple and Cloudflare are looking to additional help to protect your privacy. The duo are releasing a new Internet protocol, dubbed Oblivious DNS-over-HTTPS, or ODoH for short. The goal is to make it harder for your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to track which websites you visit.
Simply put: When you go to your phone or computer and navigate to a site, your web browser uses a DNS resolver (domain name system) to convert the website to an IP address, which is then used to determine where the site is located on the Internet. Think of it like traditional postal mail. You can’t just send a letter or a package with just a name. You know who it is for, but not the post office. You must put a postal address. The URL of a site makes it easy to know where to go, while the IP address is what gets you there.
Right now, this process is unencrypted, which means your DNS resolver – which usually goes to your ISP by default unless you’ve changed it manually – can log the sites you visit if you don’t. he wishes it. And they usually do, because most ISPs already sell your browsing history to third-party advertisers.
ODoH tries to prevent this from happening by decoupling DNS calls from the user himself. It does this by introducing a proxy that sits between you and the DNS server. Think of it as if you are using a virtual private network) VPN. But instead of faking your location and IP address, which could theoretically be linked to you if someone tried to figure it out, ODoH makes sure your DNS doesn’t know who made the request. It only knows which sites have been requested.
So if a significant number of people start using ODoH, the entire DNS server will see a massive blob requesting sites versus a bunch of individual sites. Cloudflare has already added support for ODoH requests via its DNS service 188.8.131.52. Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait for your browser, operating system (OS), or both to support it.
Currently, only Mozilla’s Firefox has implemented this feature. I hope more will come on board, especially since a ton of people work from home. Internet privacy is more important than ever.