Feeds

When ISPs hijack your rights to NXDOMAIN

Get lost online, without ads

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Fail and You Virgin Media's UK customers are about to experience a wonderful new service that intercepts unresolvable DNS requests and redirects the user to a page full of ads and search results.

It's becoming a frequent trick that ISPs are pulling on their customers, as non-technical executives who could even put the airline industry to shame, dream up clever answers to the age old question: "How can we make more money off of this?".

In the ISP's case, some fellow in a suit who refers to his computer tower as the "hard drive" likely had the insight that Microsoft was unfairly having all the fun with these browser error pages and that, dammit, there should be a free market in error reporting.

And there's the rub. If the person who thought up this little scheme files a ticket with IT when the shortcut to Outlook on his desktop disappears and he can't figure out how to run the program via the Start menu, then you can be right sure that by and large, customers do not care about having their mistyped URLs appear as a list of ads that will eventually take them to their destination. Come to think of it, nobody cares but you. And to keep you IT types from causing too much of a stir, Virgin - and other ISPs - let you opt-out from this hijacking service.

DNS hijacking is a pretty slick way to skim some money off of the top of the internet. In fact, the San Francisco, California, based company OpenDNS makes a whole business out of it. They display ads next to mistyped search results and collect tidy profit. I suppose it doesn't say a whole lot about the visionaries in charge of OpenDNS when internet service providers are replicating their entire business model as a supplemental, shits-and-giggles revenue stream, but hey, they get points for trying.

The difference of course is that OpenDNS customers sign up for this service knowing full well that the company does this. Net neutrality guerrilla fighters recognize the tyranny when an internet service provider, who is supposed to be a benevolent life-giver, the stream from which all things free and pure flow to the homes of the masses, gives in to evil temptation and plays fast and loose with DNS responses. Oh, the horror.

You see, a free people enjoy certain unalienable rights: life, liberty, and honest NXDOMAIN responses. Anything less is slavery, and if history has taught us anything, the only way to break from these shackles is to blog and Twitter about your dissatisfaction, in hopes that somebody in the government will fix it.

Yeah, net neutrality cracks me up. It's one of the many tumors that is slowly killing real liberty: the belief that if you whine about something enough and call it a right, the government will do something, and when they don't, you whine even louder, at which point the general public stops caring about your cause because Global Warming is starring in its very own movie, and dammit, nobody out-whines Al Gore.

Next: Life, liberty and the pursuit of popping a cap in a Redcoat

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Verizon bankrolls tech news site, bans tech's biggest stories
No agenda here. Just don't ever mention Net neutrality or spying, ok?
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?