THIS experimental Android feature prevents hackers from spying on user traffic

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Google is working on a new security feature for its Android mobile operating system to prevent network-level attacks from exposing user traffic to unauthorised persons. The feature, named “DNS over TLS”, is currently at an experimental stage, and is receiving comments at the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the main standards organisation for the Internet.

Domain Name Server, or DNS, is an Internet service that translates domain names into IP addresses. When you type in a particular web address into your browser, the computer asks for a DNS which returns the specific IP address to the client.

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A 3D printed Android mascot Bugdroid is seen in front of a Google logo in this illustration taken July 9, 2017. Picture taken July 9, 2017.REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

While each and every website you visit need to go through this process, all the requests in this entire course are done in plain text through UDP or TCP protocols that are readable by anyone with access to your connection.

This is where “DNS over TLS” comes in rescue for those who are conscious about their online security. The new feature can encrypt DNS queries similar to how HTTPS encrypts HTTP traffic. The purpose of the feature is mainly to hide the websites you visit from a potential attacker, who can otherwise observe DNS requests and guess the sites you might be accessing.

According to XDA Developers, Google is adding the “DNS over TLS” feature to Android as revealed by multiple commits to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). The Android developer news website spotted two code commits that read “Add a global setting to disable DNS over TLS” and “Add a developer option for controlling DNS over TLS.”

The feature’s presence in Android repository suggests that Google is planning to add the same under Developer Options, allowing users to turn on or off “DNS over TLS”. It is, however, not clear if the feature will arrive with a future version of Android.