Report on a company called "DNSstuff"

I had an opportunity to hear a pitch from a company called "DNSstuff" recently, which was interesting. Most of us know a bit about how the Domain Name Service (DNS) works.

 

I had an opportunity to hear a pitch from a company called "DNSstuff" recently, which was interesting.

 

Most of us know a bit about how the Domain Name Service (DNS) works.  But there are very few "experts" in DNS because we rarely need to worry about it.  We enable it and it usually works.  The guys as DNSstuff are more expert than you or I.  They make a case (?exaggerated?) that DNS attacks are the next big thing, and you had better be prepared.

 

They started with some free tools on a website hosted in one of their basements.  Now they have grown this into a pay-for service (although a few free tools remain available) hosted in (currently) three data centers.  This service is aimed at companies with an internet presence (and what company doesn't have one?).   It externally examines your internet presence for DNS routing and email.  While I am less than worried about DNS attacks, I found the email checks interesting.  Ever had your email server "banned" by various sites?  While some of that may be out of your control (for example if someone spoofs some spam as coming from your email address and a recipient reports you to one or more of the various "spam" list sites), they have a tool (DNS Report) that shows you exactly what settings your email service is using and how they can hurt your reputation.  They have a variety of interesting tools hosted at their data centers, including a new one (in beta) that checks internet access to your site using three different methods of "traceroute" from each of their data centers.  The tools not only tell you when something is out of whack, but also provide information that can lead you into knowing how to fix it.  In the demo I saw, the salesman asked for a couple of websites run by those in the audience.  One had severe issues (an open relay on an email server the owner didn't know was active), and another had minor issues, mostly associated with tiemout settings.  Access to this service, which is done via a web portal, allows you to run a whole bunch of tests for a year.  The "professional" version  (appx $80US) includes about 50 tools, including the "DNS report" I mentioned earlier.  There is a "standard version" for $50, but the DNS Report isn't included.  Either subscription also gets you technical support from their experts, should you have a problem and need help.  There is also a premium service you can also buy that will monitor your site and alert you if there is an issue.  If it is important that your site remain up 24x7 then this may be of interest (although there are plenty of web monitoring systems/services out there).

 

Eventually they plan to have tools for use inside the corporate firewall.  I am thinking this may be of more value, as the ISPs have their experts to take care of the external DNS.  Who do you have internally? 

 

DNSstuff is  currently offering a discount on the site and have a 21 day free trial to check out the service.  I have not (yet) tried the service, nor do I have an afilliation with them.

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That company is amazing how they have grown into this commercial service.  Every admin I know is familiar with using the tools and it is often the first place to go when suspecting email issues or to check out a new client's overall information and health.  Great post.
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I signed up with DNSStuff on a 21 day free trial, of their Professional Tools service only (so far as I’m aware).


My diary had a note to review the service before the 21 days was up. I hadn’t used the service past the first couple of days of the trial much as I’d found better alternatives, so I’d have certainly cancelled the subscription. However in the early hours of the final day (about 20.5 days after I started using the service) I got emails to tell me that my card had been charged not only $79 for the Professional Tools but also $42 and $99 for two other services that I wasn’t aware of.


I’ve asked DNSStuff for a refund and I’m now awaiting response.


Be careful of DNSStuff; this could be a genuine billing mistake on their part - which is sloppy - or it could be an intentional rip-off.


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