Feeds

When ISPs hijack your rights to NXDOMAIN

Get lost online, without ads

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.