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Mediacom Using DPI To Hijack Searches, 404 Errors

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the well-thats-not-cool dept.

Privacy 379

Verteiron writes "Cable company Mediacom recently began using deep packet inspection to redirect 404 errors, Google and Bing searches to their own, ad-laden 'search engine.' Despite repeated complaints from customers, Mediacom continues this connection hijacking even after the user has opted out of the process. Months after the problem was first reported, the company seems unwilling or unable to fix it and has even experimented with injecting their own advertising into sites like Google. How does one get a company infamous for its shoddy customer service and comfortable, state-wide cable monopolies to act on an issue like this?"

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Get another ISP! (1)

headqtrs (467875) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952000)

There can be only one thing to do: Get another ISP! Money talks.

Re:Get another ISP! (5, Informative)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952056)

I'd hope Google would sue them for copyright violation, changing their webpage in transit, and collect damages per changed page. Additionally they create confusion by diluting Google's trademarks (and those of anyone else whose page is changed). I mean this violates so many laws it isn't funny.

You could serve them with a DMCA cease and decist notice as a normal website author. Fight fire with fire.

Re:Get another ISP! (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952118)

Came to this story to post exactly the same thing. If you take someone else's copyrighted work (i.e. any web page that is not explicitly placed into the public domain) and create a derived work (that page with adverts), which you then distribute for profit (ad revenue), then you are committing wilful copyright infringement for commercial gain. You can be liable for a statutory penalty of up to $150,000 per work (at least per site, possibly per page) in the USA.

Re:Get another ISP! (1)

DanTheStone (1212500) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952124)

You seem to have missed the last sentence of the summary: "How does one get a company infamous for its shoddy customer service and comfortable, state-wide cable monopolies to act on an issue like this?"

Re:Get another ISP! (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952188)

It would probably be unethical to suggest arson, so I won't.

Re:Get another ISP! (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952352)

Does anyone know if dropping their ad server in the hosts file will fix the redirect?

Re:Get another ISP! (2)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952418)

It is usually not "their" ad server. Advertisers do not trust content providers and prefer to count the hits themselves. This means that it is most likely that the ads being inserted are not on the ISP's servers. The ISP's server are inserting code that directs the client to download ad content which, in turn, generates revenue for the ISP.

Would "adblock" work? Yeah, probably.

Re:Get another ISP! (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952192)

You could make your own ISP. It is not terribly expensive to deploy an 802.11y service, I actually know someone who is doing so in the mountains near where I live. All it would take are a couple dozen people in a small town who are sick of Mediacom's crap to get a few thousand dollars together for equipment and a T1 line (not saying that this is a particularly fast connection for a couple dozen people to share, but it's a start).

Now, depending on Mediacom's situation and just how comfortable it is, these people may face some sort of non-technical issue in executing such a plan, but that is another story entirely.

Re:Get another ISP! (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952312)

Can't find it now, but there was an article about someone who did that and got sued by the big bad ISP.

Re:Get another ISP! (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952474)

TDS v. Monticello perhaps?

Re:Get another ISP! (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952540)

The February 2010 issue of Consumer Reports ranked Mediacom 15th of 16 in TV service, 24th of 27 in Internet service, and 23rd of 23 in phone service, based on surveys.

Re:Get another ISP! (2, Insightful)

ejtttje (673126) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952190)

Good luck finding one in your local monopoly. (missed that part?) Even in my major metro area, the next best choice is an also-ran DSL service from Verizon at a fraction of the speed for almost as much money.

This is why we should just give up this free-market farce and regulate the ISPs as utilities, with standards on purity (e.g. not modifying traffic) and equity (not censoring traffic from conglomerate competitors). AKA net neutrality.

Re:Get another ISP! (0)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952382)

But wait, that's anti-American. Americans are suppose to love corporate monopolies. That's the American way.

HTTPS (4, Informative)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952010)

Can't touch this! [google.com]

Exactly (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35952024)

First, use https everywhere [eff.org] . They can't hijack google when you use ssl. If you want to block ads, use privoxy. You can block ads for the entire family this way, and also force https on many sites without using plugins. For example:

{ +redirect{s@http://@https://@i} }
.google.com
.twitter.com
.paypal.com
.googleapis.com
.amazonaws.com
www.nytimes.com
.googleusercontent.com
.myspace.com
.facebook.com
.wordpress.com
( -redirect }
www.google.com/imghp
cache.pack.google.com/edgedl/chrome/install/
www.google.com/chrome

Finally, use tor. They can't touch anything that goes through tor.

Well also, keep complaining. It does a lot of good to keep shaming them.

Re:Exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35952230)

> Finally, use tor. They can't touch anything that goes through tor.

It doesn't sound too clever, to use Tor for any site that requires authentications.

While Tor has grown a lot in recent times, thus becoming much faster, this also means that *many* of the exit nodes exist only because they're fishing for credit card numbers and passwords... (https should prevent this, but the idea is still a bad one, overall)

Re:Exactly (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952348)

Is it possible to use Tor for http and no Tor for https? This would quite effectively protect all important logons (no. I don't count twitter and facebook as important. Your bank should use https)

Re:Exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35952368)

Twitter and Facebook can be forced to use https.

Re:Exactly (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952554)

Is it possible to use Tor for http and no Tor for https?

I'd say that's the opposite of what you should be doing if you're worried about honeypot Tor exit nodes. You should run HTTPS over Tor and use Perspectives to make sure you aren't getting MITM'ed. Don't run unencrypted stuff over Tor that you don't want anyone else to see.

Re:HTTPS (1)

Ice Tiger (10883) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952036)

Yup, time for the web to go to HTTPS.

Re:HTTPS (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952104)

$10 says that ISPs will encourage their customers to use special "installation disks," which add an ISP's signing certificate to the list of trusted CAs and then start using MITM attacks. It takes more than HTTPS, it takes users who both care and understand what they are doing.

Re:HTTPS (2, Troll)

Palmsie (1550787) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952204)

When have users ever cares or understood what they are doing? This is the entire premise of the Apple machine. They assume you don't; look how popular that has become.

Re:HTTPS (2, Insightful)

david.emery (127135) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952278)

Someone please mod as troll.

Re:HTTPS (2, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952582)

No, he's essentially correct.

Those days are essentially behind us, generally speaking, but you can't tell me that you never met someone who proudly stated "I'm computer illiterate" before? The primary draw of Mac OS was "it's so easy!" And it was! It also meant it would take a back seat to most of the newest and cutting-edge stuff, but the "easy" crowd didn't care about cutting-edge anyway... sounded dangerous after all.

Like it or not, "easy" was a primary marketing point for Apple. And seriously, even today, what about Apple stuff is hard, difficult or complicated? You can still "uninstall" a program by removing its icon! (Not true in the case of Microsoft Office, but that's Microsoft ain't it?) Sure you can get "into the tech" with Mac OS X if you want to now, but still.

I'm guessing you are an Apple user and you somehow took that personally. Aren't you an exception to the rule though? After spending time supporting Mac in a business environment, I can safely say that Apple users are less technically sophisticated than PC users. I didn't say "dumber" just less technically sophisticated. To insert the old car analogy, Apple users drive "automatics" while Windows users drive "standards." The result of the difference is that Windows users end up with knowledge like what a swap file is used for or that a DLL is conflicting after a recent installation of software. PC users learn more because they experience more problems.

Now, are you STILL offended?

Re:HTTPS (0)

Dodgy G33za (1669772) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952330)

Someone please mod as truth :o)

Re:HTTPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35952426)

You're absolutely right. Apple assumes their customers don't know what they're doing. That's why they ship man pages for their command line tools.

Re:HTTPS (1)

wlad (1171323) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952254)

I doubt the legality of that in most free countries. Also, sites don't want their content to be hijacked and modified, it might even be a case of "DMCA circumvention" to pull a MITM attack like that.

Re:HTTPS (3, Informative)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952270)

....and yet, Mediacom is hijacking search queries. Why is adding an MITM attack any more illegal than hijacking the queries in the first place?

Re:HTTPS (1)

wlad (1171323) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952344)

Well, I guess it's worse because in that case they are circumventing a protection measure (encryption, digital signature), and impersonating some other site. I agree this is a legal grey area too, who knows who'd win if Google/Microsoft decided to sue.

Re:HTTPS (1)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952282)

Are you going to paypal me or will you cut a check?

Re:HTTPS (1)

Ice Tiger (10883) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952322)

Even so it has now raised the bar for DPI and changing incoming HTML, in the days of AOL where you had to have software to use a modem I could see getting ISP signed certs installed on the userbase as very easy but now where a wifi router is the primary interface to the ISP am not so sure. Not to mention that the ISP has to get those certs onto Windows, Macs, iOS devices and Android too.

Also what would the legal implication be of an ISP commiting a MITM attach on a customers HTTPS session.

Re:HTTPS (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952568)

Not to mention that the ISP has to get those certs onto Windows, Macs, iOS devices and Android too.

Well, without specification regulations (ahem net neutrality) prohibiting this, couldn't an ISP just dictate that only certain operating systems are allowed to be used? That would make the task a whole lot easier. Windows and Mac OS X only? No problem for the ISPs.

On the other hand, they could be a little less aggressive, and only perform the attack on customers who actually make use of the disk that they are given. You would be surprised as to just how many customers actually insert those disks into their computers.

Also what would the legal implication be of an ISP commiting a MITM attach on a customers HTTPS session.

I would like to think that it would be the same as the legal implications of hijacking search queries, since some random hacker would not receive a less harsh sentence for performing such hijacking without an MITM attack than with one.

Re:HTTPS (2)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952210)

The web will likely need to go IPv6 first. When you connect to an HTTPS server, the certificate stuff takes place BEFORE your browser even tells the server what [sub]domain you are accessing, so you usually need a dedicated IP for each [sub]domain so the certificates can always match up.

Re:HTTPS (3, Informative)

Scott Laird (2043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952290)

That's not exactly true; SNI allows for HTTPS multihoming, and it's supported by the HTTPS on pretty much every modern platform, *except* for Windows XP. Browsers that use Window's HTTPS code (most of them, IIRC) can't cope with SNI on XP, so no one actually uses it anywhere yet.

Re:HTTPS (1)

wlad (1171323) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952200)

+1: ISPs doing shit like this will speed up adoption of https, which is still not perfectly secure, but still much better than plaintext http.

Re:HTTPS (3, Informative)

cultiv8 (1660093) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952226)

Yes they can [sonicwall.com] . From SonicWall's Press Release [channelinsider.com] :

SonicOS 5.6 adds a new deep packet inspection (DPI) engine for SSL encrypted traffic, which has increasingly become a blind spot in many firewall, content filtering and data leak protection schemes today. Bad guys have begun using encryption technologies against the very security communities that made them popular, using encryption to avoid the HTTPS protocol to bypass filters and expose networks to malware attacks.

Re:HTTPS (4, Insightful)

sverdlichenko (105710) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952284)

No they can't. HTTPS inspection works only if user installed "trusted" certificate on his computer. This can be done in corporate environment, but not for home users.

Re:HTTPS (1)

Chutzpah (6677) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952328)

That's a neat trick.

I suspect that's just marketing speak for it doing heuristic analysis based on the endpoint and possibly packet timings, there is no way to actually do DPI on properly implemented SSL packets without using a MITM attack (for which they would need a locally installed CA).

Unless of course they have managed to find a way to efficiently factor large numbers, though that strikes me as rather unlikely.

Re:HTTPS (1)

Yold (473518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952332)

Isn't this public key encryption? You DO know how that works right? Even if the eavesdropper has the public key (transmitted across the wire), it won't do jack. Think of it as 1-way encryption.

Re:HTTPS (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952506)

Think of it as 1-way encryption.

Except completely different from a hash.

Re:HTTPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35952362)

I can tell you mediacom uses sonic wall, I've gotten errors before saying my sonic wall missed something or did something wrong on a webpage.( I run pfsense)

Re:HTTPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35952374)

You can perform fingerprinting of SSL traffic, but you can't inspect and modify the contents of the SSL traffic en-route. So they could tell you were using HTTPS, but they couldn't tell if the server returned a 404, or insert their own ads into any pages returned by the server.

Re:HTTPS (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952456)

The press release does mention that client proxy configuration is not needed, so clearly those boxes are more sophisticated than the quite-explicitly-and-by-design man in the middle that is the classic proxy server; but they fail to say that no client configuration is needed, which one would have expected, were it the case, to be touted as a feature.

I suspect that doing DPI on SSLed traffic requires that the client be configured to trust certificates generated with a key that the firewall has access to, so that it can catch a client's SSL connection attempt, set itself up as the client to which the remote host establishes a connection, inspect the resulting plaintext, and then encrypt it with its own key so that the client doesn't notice anything amiss.

Because any trusted CA can, without a warning being issued, sign for any domain, the technique comes up as a serious problem with SSL security whenever a CA does something stupid(as with Comodo) or shows clear organizational tendencies toward evil(as with Etisalat). In a corporate/institutional context, pushing your own in-house CA as trusted is fairly trivial, so the bar would be a lot lower than pulling it off in the wild...

Re:HTTPS (2)

Technician (215283) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952388)

Ad one more step. Use another DNS server or put the Real Google HTTPS IP address in the hosts file so the ISP can't redirect it with a corrupt DNS server.

File an Anti-Trust Complaint (4, Informative)

techsoldaten (309296) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952030)

File an anti-trust complaint and break up the monopoly. That is what those laws are for.

FTC Complaint (4, Informative)

hotsauce (514237) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952142)

In the short-term, an FTC Complaint (https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/) works wonders due to their power to impose fines for every complaint.

File early, file often.

Re:FTC Complaint (2)

BigT (70780) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952428)

Watch Mediacom block that site for their customers next. As well as any complaint site for the FCC/franchise authority/state attorney general's office/etc.

Re:FTC Complaint (4, Insightful)

Nemesisghost (1720424) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952552)

Watch Mediacom block that site for their customers next. As well as any complaint site for the FCC/franchise authority/state attorney general's office/etc.

Before all the other hoopla about Net Neutrality became a CNN talking point, it was issues like this that caused me to want stronger regulations on ISPs. How long before other ISPs start doing the same thing? Will Mediacom start blocking /. because we exposed & brought this nefarious practice to light? What if this made it to CNN or some other major news outlet? If you don't already support Net Neutrality, maybe you ought to start thinking about it. It is the Free Speech Issue of our time.

Re:File an Anti-Trust Complaint (2)

CharlieHedlin (102121) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952156)

Most cable companies are most heavily regulated by local franchise agreements. If I had Mediacom doing this in my area I would probably have to start attending city council meetings to speak against them at every opportunity. I have a terribly despised ISP in my neighborhood, but they have recently upgraded their network and have provided me with great service (I believe they do NXDomain crap, but I use OpenDNS. They do it too but I have at least chosen them).

Re:File an Anti-Trust Complaint (1)

david.emery (127135) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952296)

Find out what jurisdiction awarded/oversees the Mediacom franchise and start with them. For what it's worth, Virginia's State Corporations Commission has been very responsive to my complaint about Verizon service.

Re:File an Anti-Trust Complaint (1)

crovira (10242) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952238)

Should have been done years ago.

Its to bad we had to wait until Verizon's FiOS and AT&T's battle over data plans duking it out with ComCast & TimeWarner's networks to end up with a duopoly with two children at a time playing badly (and clearly illegally,) with other people's toys.

Re:File an Anti-Trust Complaint (0)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952402)

>>>File an anti-trust complaint and break up the monopoly.

Won't do any good, because it was the government that created the monopoly, and the government is therefore bound by that contract. A wiser course is to simply demand your politicians Revoke the exclusive license/monopoly they gave to Mediacom, and give it to someone else (like cox, comcast, et cetera).

Government created this monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35952524)

Cable and telecom companies can't honestly be considered part of the "private sector". Their monopolies weren't achieved through superior service at superior prices (LOL) -- they were achieved through the coercive power of government. In other words, government created the problem, not the cable and telecom companies themselves. Government makes the rules, and it benefits the business of government to keep this quasi-private relationship going. Government doesn't want competition in the cable and telecom markets any more than the incumbent cable and telecom megacorps. So who are you going to file the complaint against (without getting laughed out of the courtroom by BOTH the cable company AND government)?

Vote with your feet (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35952050)

The only way companies will truly reform is when they risk losing customers. Stop complaining but cancel your contract and tell them (and the rest of the world) why.

Re:Vote with your feet (3, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952438)

The only way companies will truly reform is when they risk losing customers. Stop complaining but cancel your contract and tell them (and the rest of the world) why.

Well, if you are without internet connection, it's a bit harder to tell the world why. :-)

web site owners should sue over mess with there (-1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952058)

web site owners should sue over mess with there sites look on your system.

Re:web site owners should sue over mess with there (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35952136)

Aargh! FFS, learn to type!

Complain to google (2)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952060)

Rant and rave about shitty their website is with all the damn flashing advertisements at the top of the screen. If enough people do this, then google might actually take a look instead of ignoring the idiot user complaining about the non-existant.

Then given google is an advertising company they are likely to send the lawyers to stop said ISP from messing with their bread and butter.

Sue them (4, Funny)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952064)

What they are doing is fraud. Sue them and use *AA scales to calculate compensatory damages. Assume each false-404 corresponds to one music download, charge the normal $75000 per song.

Simple (2)

haystor (102186) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952070)

"How does one get a company infamous for its shoddy customer service and comfortable, state-wide cable monopolies to act on an issue like this?""

More regulation, obviously.

Re:Simple (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952146)

Not more, just better.
Regulation Number 1. He who owns the fiber/copper may not provide service over it.
Regulation Number 2. He who owns the fiber/copper must sell access to all comers for the same price.
Regulation Number 3. He who provides the service may not own media companies.
Regulation Number 4. If anyone gains more than 51% of the market, split the company in two.

Re:Simple (1)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952324)

I suggest 76% then you split. Otherwise makes sense.

Re:Simple (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952526)

Lets just implement directive 10-289 while we're at it.

Re:Simple (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952562)

Regulation Number 1. He who owns the fiber/copper may not provide service over it.

Evasion Strategy Number 1: Make two companies, owned both by you (through sufficient indirections through holdings etc. to make this non-obvious). One holds the fiber/copper, one provides the service.

Regulation Number 2. He who owns the fiber/copper must sell access to all comers for the same price.

Evasion Strategy Number 2: Have that equal price so high that nobody will be interested, except for your service company (which is always on the edge of bancruptcy, which doesn't hurt, because you get your money from that other company; indeed, being at the edge of bancruptcy may even help in exploiting the workers, not to mention that it's probably useful for tax reasons, too).

Regulation Number 3. He who provides the service may not own media companies.

See Evasion Strategy Number 1.

Regulation Number 4. If anyone gains more than 51% of the market, split the company in two.

OK, then have several companies "competing" with each other, both owned by you (see Evasion Strategy Number 1).

How it works (1)

ah.clem (147626) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952106)

Pay your bill and complain; nothing changes. Quit the service; they eventually notice.

If you really think you have no alternatives then that's too bad because they really don't care. It's all about the numbers, critical mass.

Re:How it doesn't works (2)

yoghurt (2090) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952358)

I have a great solution for reducing spam. Don't reply and it will stop. If you don't buy any h3rb4l V1agr4, they eventually notice and stop.

They won't ever notice. For example, my not buying Sony products over the past dozen years is of no discernible impact to Sony. I haven't bought a Dell, but that isn't due to any problem I have with them. How is Sony to infer that I don't care for them, while Dell I just haven't bought from yet?

Re:How it doesn't works (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952572)

Try fining the credit card co's every time they knowingly process a payment for a spam email, and bar spamvertizers from accepting credit cards for their products.

The credit cos might not be directly involved but they're profiting on transaction fees from the whole thing, so they can darn well help police the thing. They are in an amply good position to help out with the problem.

Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35952116)

"How does one get a company infamous for its shoddy customer service and comfortable, state-wide cable monopolies to act on an issue like this?"

Nukes?

Cancel Your Service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35952130)

It's a free market. Let everyone know about the problem (you've done that)....

Then cancel your service with them.

Re:Cancel Your Service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35952198)

How is it a free market if they have been granted state-wide monopolies. That is about far from a free market as you can get..

Re:Cancel Your Service (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952544)

They are not a monopoly (by the twisted logic of our legal system) because you can always cancel them and use a 56K dial up connection.

The actual argument should be that they have a franchise agreement to maintain their system in the public rights of way. And then complain to the appropriate political entity having jurisdiction.

Sue them for any porn you (or your kids) see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35952174)

If they're hijacking the content, they're now responsible for it.

Slashdot Affected? (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952228)

So, is this the reason why the Slashdot a banner ad: "Steven Feuerstein: Java Developers Should Know PL/SQL." is stretched to be the nearly size of a full screen, and disproportionately too? <checks source> Nope...

Hey slashdot devs, Here's an ad for ya: "VortexCortex: Web Developers Should Know CSS/Algebra!"

Not once have I disabled ads, satisfied to give Slashdot whatever meager income the ads provide, but this has forced my hand...

report them for providing illegal services. (2)

GuldKalle (1065310) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952234)

I'm not sure, but wouldn't this exclude them from common-carrier protections? If so, it should be fairly easy to make them provide you with illegal services (think gambling, not CP - no reason to get FBI on your ass).

Re:report them for providing illegal services. (3, Informative)

ewieling (90662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952340)


USA ISPs are not "common carriers" under the law, no matter how much people wish they are.

Re:report them for providing illegal services. (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952416)

Correct, which is why they have special provisions in the DMCA and such. They fought long and hard to not be common carriers.

People also don't seem to understand that breaking common carrier rules doesn't mean "you lose common carrier status", it means "you go to jail".

Consumer fraud plain and simple (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952262)

I'm paying for Internet access not Mediacom's "custom remix" of Internet and its partners.

I deserve a prorated per-day refund for every day that I'm affected by such shenanigans.

Attorney generals in the affected states should be all over this. Assuming they don't play golf with Mediacom executives of course.

According to the article... (3, Insightful)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952268)

It's not exactly what the submission says. If you enter search data in the address bar it may redirect you to Mediacom's servers whether you opt in or not. However if you use the search bar it won't redirect you. This is considered unacceptable by the person who wrote the giant post in the "deep packet inspection..." link above. I'm not going to debate whether this is unacceptable or not, but there is a workaround - just use the search bar. As someone who does not do searches in the address bar that seems OK to me.

Re:According to the article... (1)

wikid_one (1056810) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952316)

The problem isn't just that it intercepts searches... it intercepts EVERYTHING typed into the address bar. If you type in a valid web site address it gets intercepted and takes you to their search engine. When you are using a browser such as chrome, typing into the search box isn't an option.

Re:According to the article... (1)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952410)

Not that its a wonderful option, but you can always use tab to search in chrome. Nifty feature I just read about here: http://www.google.com/support/chrome/bin/answer.py?answer=95655 [google.com]

I use firefox stripped down to the bare interface, so I just ctrl-k to bring up a google search page.

Re:According to the article... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35952512)

While taking a longer path to avoid going through a crime-ridden park may lessen your chances of getting mugged, I would still not be OK with the muggers in the park.

Wire Fraud? (4, Insightful)

lobsterGun (415085) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952302)

Wire Fraud:

Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. If the violation affects a financial institution, such person shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.

A customer is asking for one web page, mediacom is substituting another for monetary gain. How is this not wire fraud?

Re:Wire Fraud? (3, Funny)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952488)

Wire Fraud:

Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. If the violation affects a financial institution, such person shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.

A customer is asking for one web page, mediacom is substituting another for monetary gain. How is this not wire fraud?

Market cap.

File a Complaint with the State Attorney General (2)

fallen1 (230220) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952308)

that Mediacom, by using this technique to redirect certain traffic, are in fact violating 18 U.S.C. 1030 (Fraud and Related Activity in Connection with Computers) by committing just that -- FRAUD. If I go to Google to search for an explanation of a math problem but all of my traffic is routed through Mediacom's system first and I then get responses from Mediacom that looks like they are coming from Google - that is fraud. Pure and simple. I _trust_ Google (for the most part) to give me the information I am seeking. I don't trust my ISP that is redirecting traffic and injecting their own ads to increase their profit margins. The ISP exists solely to move data, un-accosted except for "traffic shaping", across their wires. If I type in www.google.com and start a search, by all that is holy and unholy my data had better be going to Google and not be redirected to point B before reaching Google -- isn't that, technically, a man-in-the-middle attack? Which is also a violation of 18 U.S.C. 1030 I believe.

I hate that the United States is lawsuit happy but, let's face it, hitting these assholes in their pocketbooks are probably the only thing that will get them to cease and desist. Even then they'll keep trying or buy immunity or something. Until then though, I'm down with cleaning out their ill-gotten and misdirected coffers.

NOTE: I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice.

Time Warner Cable does the same thing in NEOhio. (1)

fatbuckel (1714764) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952318)

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Filter error: You can type more than that for your comment. I can not post,how about that?

Charter was doing this (1)

gravis777 (123605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952334)

Charter was doing this for a while. Really annoying. And the link to click to opt out was at the smallest font they could find. Finally got it fixed. Was not happy - if I go to Google.com, or search google in my address bar, I expect to go to Google!

ISP level redirects should be illegal. What is to stop some hacker from coming in to the ISP and redirecting traffic from bankofamerica.com to a look-a-like site? Worse yet, what would happen if their DNS lookup table (or whatever its called) gets propigated? Or what about other service providers that buy bandwidth from them?

Change the Law (1)

King Louie (211282) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952378)

The problem has a political source: government-approved monopolies for cable providers. So the solution must also be political: eliminate the government-approved monopolies. This crap won't happen when there is more than one alternative in the marketplace. Many locations are only served by one provider because the government has granted that provider a monopoly. Get on your state and local legislators' butts about it and get the law changed.

Solution: Use a different DNS server (4, Informative)

level_headed_midwest (888889) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952404)

I have Mediacom's internet service and the solution is to use a different DNS server other than the ones Mediacom provides. I use Level3's DNS servers (4.2.2.2 and 4.2.2.3) for my DNS lookups and I do not get any redirects. You can either manually set the DNS servers on your computer or set them at the router.

Re:Solution: Use a different DNS server (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952534)

I have Mediacom's internet service and the solution is to use a different DNS server other than the ones Mediacom provides. I use Level3's DNS servers (4.2.2.2 and 4.2.2.3) for my DNS lookups and I do not get any redirects. You can either manually set the DNS servers on your computer or set them at the router.

The Mediacom DNSs are a double-whammy -- or rather avoiding them is double-plus-good. I get a lot of 404s from Mediacom -- and the resultant redirect -- even for valid URLs ("http://www.google.com not found . . ."). I kind of have to wonder if the "DNS problems" are intentional or just a happy coincidence for them.

Really Fed Up WithThis Company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35952406)

I've experienced this several times with Mediacom. On top of that they have an ongoing (4+ months with zero resolution) problem of widespread oversold nodes. It is common in many locations to be on dial up speeds after 6:00 p.m. in the evening. Mediacom serves mainly rural communities and many of those folks don't have a choice. Check out the forums on dsl reports for some real horror stories.

Mediacom... Gulf Coast Region (1)

irving47 (73147) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952412)

Not seeing it.
http://search.mediacomcable.com/prefs.php

Disable, Disable, Disable...

DMCA - copyright violation (1)

RichMan (8097) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952422)

Get a content provider to file a DMCA take down request against Mediacom. Or file with our friends the *AA

The content provider creates a copyright protected page representation. Mediacom is violating the copyright by modifying the representation on the fly.

The DMCA notice to Mediacom should say "stop this or be forced off line" and "Have a nice day"

Changing DNS Servers Helps Too... (1)

bleys2112 (1158637) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952424)

I was a Mediacom subscriber for years and recently switched to Centurylink which is just as bad, if not worse on 404 redirects. The solution, changing DNS servers. Many options are available here and some even offer filtering for sites that are know to host viruses and even pron. A great little benchmarking utility is available at http://www.grc.com/dns/benchmark.htm [grc.com] that can offer many options and show you just how crappy your ISP's DNS server can be.

I'm surprised nobody has suggested the obvious... (1)

Vrtigo1 (1303147) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952440)

Switch to a different ISP. There must be at least one DSL or wireless provider that can service your address. After you switch, make sure you call Mediacom and let them know that you're cancelling your service because you find their traffic molestation practices unacceptable. Write them a letter to the same effect...sometimes a letter will actually get to someone who cares. Seriously though, voting with your wallet is just about the only thing that has a chance at making them change their ways...

Avoid their DNS and you should be good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35952462)

I use my own personal DNS server and never had a problem with it. Avoid their DNS and you should be good.

Anyone at Mediacom, run Netalyzr please... (1)

nweaver (113078) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952472)

Anyone using Mediacom, please run Netalyzr ( http://netalyzr.icsi.berkeley.edu [berkeley.edu] ) and post the results link, this might be able to detect whatever manipulation is ongoing.

Thanks!

mediacom subscribers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35952478)

I wasnt even aware that we could opt out of the service. Never looked at the assist page for that long. Here is one possible problem for those who are trying to opt out. Your DNS cache remembers that mediacom sent you to their assist page for the testing domain (google.cmo in my case) even after you opt out. If you are still testing the same name without rebooting or otherwise clearing the cache, it will appear that the opt-out didnt work you can confirm this by trying another 'bad' domain. Also, there is no mention of add-replacement service opt-out; only web address error redirect, typo correction, and adult filter. I have not seen any of these injected ads, however.

It appears that they are using their dns servers to do all of this. I did the same thing to force http (and https) sessions to be logged into the 'Free Hotel Wifi' network I built. Also used it to get email out to a working SMTP server without any clients needing to change their outgoing server settings. Its not really DPI at that point. The only evidence of 'messing with my connection' that i have seen is that of DNS redirects. Change to OpenDNS or any other 3rd party DNS server and get their redirect pages instead. You could also run and maintain your own DNS server.

It doesn't look like packet inspection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35952484)

To me it appears to be a simple dns redirection.
There may be more to it on the 404 front, but their basic line of attack is their DNS servers.
I run my own, so it's not an issue.

Complain to Public Utilities Commission (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#35952510)

There are actually several courses of action available to you. As others have mentioned, lobbying your state legilators to get the law changed is one (this will probably require that you become politically active and get other people to support your position). Another option is to complain to your state Public Utilities Commission (or whatever your state calls the body that regulates the behavior of state granted monopolies--every state that I know of has one). Contact your state legislator and complain. Be prepared to explain why this is a serious issue. Among other reasons that this is a potential problem is that they can use this same approach to redirect you from websites that compete with services they sell . Also explain to your legislator that it indicates that they are tracking the sort of searches you make. Finally, again as others have suggested, complain to the state Attorney General's office.

This isn't new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35952520)

ISPs hijack search traffic *all the time*. See http://www.payne.org/index.php/Frontier_Search_Hijacking [payne.org] ; Frontier is hijacking Google's DNS traffic right now in many locations. Most search results are proxied through unchanged, but they sometimes change results to insert referrer codes for sites that do affiliate payments (like Amazon and Newegg).

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