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Google’s Jigsaw Introduces Intra to Prevent DNS Manipulation Attacks and Busting Censorship

Bhaswati Sarkar
Bhaswati Sarkar
She likes to lose herself in music and daydreams quite often. Travelling excites her and photography is her passion- nature is her favorite subject. Writing is cathartic for her. A happy-go-lucky kind of person, she tries to remain calm and serene through daily life.

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While visiting a website, the web address gets converted to an IP address, and in case of an unsecured connection, oppressive governments can intercept web address requests and prevent the sites from loading or even redirect to a fake site.

Google Intra app is the newest app introduced by Jigsaw, the cyber division owned by Google’s parent, Alphabet, with the aim to prevent DNS manipulation attacks and protect users from state-sponsored censorship. Google Intra passes all browsing queries and app traffic through an encrypted connection to a trusted Domain Name Server, ensuring that users can avail the net and get to the right site without interference.

Intra is dead simple to use. Just download the app and turn it on. That’s it. – Google Jigsaw

Intra uses Google’s own trusted DNS server by default. Users also have the option of funneling their browsing requests through secure DNS servers such as Cloudflare, which hosts its own publicly accessible secure DNS server, and others.

Google Intra’s DNS is covered by its privacy policy, with Cloudflare also having its own privacy policy, as told to TechCrunch by a Jigsaw spokesperson.

Jigsaw said that it plans to “bake the app into Android Pie” which already allows encrypted DNS connections. Furthermore, Jigsaw is making efforts to make the app available for users in weaker economies that cannot afford to upgrade from older devices so they can benefit from the security features.

The Alphabet is focused on preventing censorship, threats of online harassment, and countering violent extremism, and by empowering free speech and expression by providing tools and services for safer online works.

Jigsaw’s several other anti-censorship apps include Project Shield, which protects sites against distributed denial-of-service attacks, as well as Outline, which gives reporters and activists a virtual private network that funnels data through a secure channel.

Google Jigsaw has met with success in some places where internet access is restricted or monitored, such as in Venezuela, where its government reportedly prevented citizens from accessing news sites and social networks by using DNS manipulation.

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