Canadian Shield - Personal DNS Based Firewall

Service Summary:
Service Type: Malware and Phishing protection for personal use.
Cost: Service is free of charge.
Who Can Use This Service: Anyone (Staff, Faculty, Researchers, Students) utilizing personally owned or managed systems in a off-campus location.
Support Available: Support is available and offered by CIRA.


Protect individual devices, or a whole home network with free to use Canadian Shield DNS Firewall.

The University of Regina provides powerful threat detection that blocks malicious internet activity while on campus. 

But what can users do to protect themselves while off campus?  The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) provides Canadian Shield, a free to use security service to protect individual Canadians from accessing malware sites.  It can be setup by users with any level of tech knowledge with an easy to follow configuration guide.


Why Use Canadian Shield?

The Canadian Shield firewall blocks all sorts of threats from the internet. You can set it up to protect just a single device, or configure it on your router to protect your whole network.  Once it's configured it just silently protects you in the background. There's no software to install either, you simply change the DNS server that your device or router uses and that's it!  Learn more about the benefits of Canadian Shield:


Who Provides Canadian Shield?

Canadian Shield is provided by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority.

The CIRA provides .CA web domains and provides internet related services.  It’s a Canadian non-profit corporation whose entire service infrastructure is located in Canada.  No data provided leaves the country at any time and no personalized data is recorded.

Does Canadian Shield Protect Online Privacy?

Canadian Shield DNS Firewall solution provides privacy to its users. All of the servers used in the solution are hosted in Canada, and none of your browsing data will be sold to advertisers. CIRA is a Canadian not-for-profit with no interest in using your data for marketing purposes or in selling it to others. Moreover, all of the records are deleted on a daily basis, so there are no threats to your online privacy.  Utilizing other DNS services may not provide the same privacy assurance.

What Systems Can Be Protected?

Systems which are used on campus do not need to be configured as they are already protected by university DNS firewall.

If systems are used primarily off-campus, most any electronic device can be configuerd to use the protection of the personal DNS firewalling.  Desktop or laptop computers, mobile phones, gaming systems or even entire networks at a time by configuring a home router. 

Systems that are personally owned can be configured.   Additionally, University owned but personally managed systems, such as APEA systems can be configured when the are used off campus. 

Systems managed by the University should not have their DNS settings changed, but can be secured while in a home setting by configuring the local router.

Configuring Canadian Shield

Canadian Shield provides three levels of protection: ‘private’, ‘protected’ and ‘family’, by filtering DNS queries (connections used by your devices to connect to websites).

When set to ‘private’, your DNS data will be kept private from third-parties, but doesn’t provide any security benefits.  Protected mode is required for all DNS firewall benefits.

When set to ‘protected’, the service will block HTTP and HTTPS connections to known malware and phishing sites as well as protect the privacy of DNS queries. In the case of HTTP, users receive a notification explaining why access to a site was blocked, whereas HTTPS attempts will result in an error message.

When set to ‘family’, benefits of both ‘private’ and ‘protected’ will be provided with addition of blocking pornographic content.

When possible, we suggest configuring Canadian Shield on your home router.  This will protect all devices in your home network.  Most home routers provided by local Internet Service Providers can be configured in this way.  University managed systems should not have their DNS settings changed, but can benefit from Canadian Shield while in a home environment when the home router is configured.

If you can’t configure Canadian Shield on your home router, then it can be configured on individual systems.  Each system will still receive all Canadian Shield security benefits, but will need to be configured on a device by device basis.  This can be done for any personally owned systems.  Additionally, University owned but personally managed systems, such as APEA systems can be configured.

Please refer to the configuration guide for full configuration details.

Support for Canadian Shield DNS Firewall

If you are experieincing issues on your personally owned/managed devices or home network related to the use or configuration of the Canadian Shield DNS Firewall, you can contact CIRA via their "CIRA Canadian Shield Support and Feedback" webform.