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How One Man Fought His ISP's Bad Behavior and Won 181

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-bet-he-had-lasers dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Eric Helgeson documents his experience with an unscrupulous ISP that was injecting affiliate IDs into the URLs for online retailers. 'It appears that the method they were using was to poison the A record of retailers and do a 301 redirect back to the www cname. This is due to the way apex, or 'naked' domain names work.' Upon contacting the ISP, they offered him access to two DNS servers that don't perform the injection, but they showed no indication that they would stop, or opt-out any other subscribers. (It was also the only wireless provider in his area, so he couldn't just switch to a competitor.) Helgeson then sent the data he gathered to the affiliate programs of major retailers on the assumption that they'd be upset by this as well. He was right, and they put a stop to it. He says, 'ISP's ask you to not do crummy things on their networks, so how about they don't do the same to their customers?'"
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How One Man Fought His ISP's Bad Behavior and Won

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @12:51AM (#45834953)

    Being from the part of Minnesota that Arvig is based in, I can tell ya, this behavior is very typical of them.

    When I had gotten set up upon moving into the area, the install tech bragged how all the homes (over 200 of them) on this part of town were all connected on 1 cable loop. It was a heads up from the tech that I should have paid attention to. I ended up cancelling my service early due to a consistent 1mb down every Friday and Saturday when I was paying for 10mb. Customer service actually said "we guarantee up to 10mb" "10mb is the maximum you will get"

    So many have switched over to 4g hotspots, they actually cut the offices hours here.

  • by kriston (7886) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @12:57AM (#45834977) Homepage Journal

    Saw this in Reddit this morning but thanks for reposting it.

    Seriously, the drawback to using public DNS like OpenDNS and Google DNS is that they present a serious performance problem.

    Even though the physical DNS servers are "anycast" and geographically diverse, the IP addresses are still the same. Threrefore, the large content delivery networks (CDNs) like Akamai and LimeLight still use the IP address of the DNS server to judge your location.

    Therefore, any service that uses a CDN (even Google's use them in spite of their own network) will really serve your content out of a data center that is not geographically or logically near your machine's location.

    The article (if you read it) mentions that his ISP, like most that have similar revenue-extracting services, really does offer alternative DNS servers that do not pack affiliate cookies. You should use those if you want to enjoy high-performance, edge-serve content via Akamai (AKAM) and LimeLight (LLNW).

    Otherwise, you'll all get your edge content served from some random data center in the central USA.

  • Re:Use public DNS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @12:57AM (#45834981) Journal

    A good suggestion, though I wouldn't trust Google not to do the same or worse with their DNS.

    Trust? Why is trust necessary? Because it's hard to look at the address bar and see that you haven't [amazon.com] wound up at an affiliate link [amazon.com]?

  • Re:Use public DNS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by arth1 (260657) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @01:17AM (#45835031) Homepage Journal

    You can try this [google.com] tool to check your existing DNS for performance and behaviour. Google's is very well behaved by the way, so please don't spread FUD.

    I think his point was that Google's DNS is very well behaved now, but that there is no guarantee that any DNS run by a major advertisement funded business won't, in the future, be tempted to put profit over principles.
    Blind trust is seldom a recipe for long term success. Uncertainty and doubt might be in order.

  • by drmofe (523606) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @01:54AM (#45835133)
    I commented on the reddit thread in the same vein as you and got downvoted. So I did some research. Several contributors to that thread suggest that Google DNS has solved the CDN problem by adding and original IP field that the CDN can use to geolocate the subscriber. This is due to Google implementing edns-client-subnet EDNS0 extensions as of late-2011.
  • Re:Use public DNS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pichu0102 (916292) <pichu0102@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @01:58AM (#45835143) Homepage Journal

    Downside of using shared DNS servers is that some servers, like those for Sony's PSN, try to get you to download from servers based on your DNS server.

    Why? I have no clue. However, it kills your connection speed until you reset it to your local ISP's DNS servers. Be wary.

  • Re:Use public DNS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Centurix (249778) <centurix@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @02:56AM (#45835275) Homepage

    Nope, even using Google's DNS won't save you: ISP's hijack DNS that aren't theirs [hackercodex.com]

    For me I had to use DNSMASQ on my router and add: bogus-nxdomain=209.222.14.3 to stop Telstra from "helping" my DNS requests when using 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4...

  • Re:Use public DNS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Wednesday January 01, 2014 @03:31AM (#45835385) Homepage Journal

    You may use a random server supplied by any person on the internet. Results will be random, of course. Why not use a tool designed to find the best servers FOR YOU? You could see an even greater improvement.

    https://code.google.com/p/namebench/ [google.com]

    Default ISP servers are often the worst of the worst.

Everything that can be invented has been invented. -- Charles Duell, Director of U.S. Patent Office, 1899

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