User Awareness and Behaviors Concerning Encrypted DNS Settings in Web Browsers


Alexandra Nisenoff, Carnegie Mellon University and University of Chicago; Ranya Sharma and Nick Feamster, University of Chicago


Recent developments to encrypt the Domain Name System (DNS) have resulted in major browser and operating system vendors deploying encrypted DNS functionality, often enabling various configurations and settings by default. In many cases, default encrypted DNS settings have implications for performance and privacy; for example, Firefox’s default DNS setting sends all of a user’s DNS queries to Cloudflare, potentially introducing new privacy vulnerabilities. In this paper, we confirm that most users are unaware of these developments—with respect to the rollout of these new technologies, the changes in default settings, and the ability to customize encrypted DNS configuration to balance user preferences between privacy and performance. Our findings suggest several important implications for the designers of interfaces for encrypted DNS functionality in both browsers and operating systems, to help improve user awareness concerning these settings, and to ensure that users retain the ability to make choices that allow them to balance tradeoffs concerning DNS privacy and performance.

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@inproceedings {287232,
author = {Alexandra Nisenoff and Ranya Sharma and Nick Feamster},
title = {User Awareness and Behaviors Concerning Encrypted {DNS} Settings in Web Browsers},
booktitle = {32nd USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security 23)},
year = {2023},
isbn = {978-1-939133-37-3},
address = {Anaheim, CA},
pages = {3117--3133},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug

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