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Comcast Blocks Web Browsing

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the because-they-can dept.

Censorship 502

An anonymous reader writes "A team of researchers have found that Comcast has quietly rolled out a new traffic-shaping method, which is interfering with web browsers in addition to p2p traffic. The smoking gun that documents this behavior are network traces collected from Comcast subscribers Internet connections. This evidence shows Comcast is forging packets and blocking connection attempts from web browsers. One has to hope this isn't the congestion management system they are touting as no longer targeting BitTorrent, which they are deploying in reaction to the recent FCC investigations."

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Throttling (5, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989046)

Throttling wouldn't be so bad if you could just opt out of it. The ISP providing my home Internet connection throttles your performance by default, but if you visit one their website, you can change the settings to unthrottled, and then upload and download gigabytes and gigabytes of music and films each both with no problem. The ISP figures most people aren't going to bother changing their settings, but the people who really love file-sharing are still free to do so.

Re:Throttling (4, Insightful)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989076)

On my service provider's homepage, it takes a half an hour for me to just find the place to pay my bill, and it moves every couple of months. If such an option is available, I doubt anyone has ever actually found it to activate it! (Luckily, I don't have comcast, and am in a rare area with two cable providers, the OTHER of which is comcast, so I'm hoping RCN won't pull this crap because they actually could lose customers and are already second-place.)

Re:Throttling (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989266)

That really annoys me that the link to the pay online service changes every 3-4 months, and trying to find it from one of the thousands of versions of their homepage is ridiculous.

At least Time Warner isn't pulling that stuff yet. It wont' surprise if they start though. Of course I won't keep them long after that. I don't use P2P often but I do need to use it occasionally. for large files bit torrent is the best way to go.

Re:Throttling (3, Insightful)

monkikuso (1062016) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989092)

Or just don't use comcast. Too much bull to deal with, if you ask me. Fios will be in my town by June, and that's the route I'm taking. For now, DSL works fine.

Re:Throttling (1)

aurispector (530273) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989212)

Same here, except I have comcast now and cant wait to ditch them. A very simple solution would be to make throttling default, with some very easy way of turning it temporarily off. I'd be fine with this.

Re:Throttling (3, Informative)

epedersen (863120) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989370)

I wish Fios was coming to my area any time soon, and DSL is not available. So unless I want to go with one of the wireless providers or dial-up Comcast is the only option.

FIOS availability (4, Interesting)

BenEnglishAtHome (449670) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989400)

Fios will be in my town by June,

How did you discover the FIOS rollout schedule for your location? I'm contemplating moving my household and I would definitely use the current/future availability of FIOS to help me choose my destination. However, I can't figure out where to look to find a map that says "This is where you can get it, this is where you can get it in 6 months, and this is where you're out of luck."

So how did you figure this out?

Re:FIOS availability (2, Informative)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989580)

IIRC, Verizon can email you to notify you when it becomes available. I'm pretty sure I did that way back when I was waiting for Fios to roll out here.

Re:FIOS availability (5, Funny)

sYkSh0n3 (722238) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989588)

Sound like me. My housing arrangements have been based around broadband availability since i moved out on my own. I probably have it as a slightly higher priority than is reasonable though.

"Oh, I can get 50MB/s broadband here? Of course I'd love to live under this bridge...on the train tracks....next to the paper mill...downwind of the sewage treatment plant."

Re:Throttling (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22989096)

Why should you or anyone opt out? If they can't give you the bandwidth they promise you in your contract - they shouldn't have advertised it as such in the first place.

Re:Throttling (2)

toadlife (301863) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989510)

Consumer ISP's don't promise bandwidth.

Re:Throttling (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989742)

And Ill assume that buying shit from Wal-Mart doesn't guarantee fitness?

I'll set you on a little secret: when you buy something, you expect a certain quality.

You cant sell a connection, and then leave it down 100% of the time, while cowing "we promised connection, not service". No, we dont demand t1-based service contracts, but we do demand what we're told we thought we bought.

Comcast: we hate our customers (4, Insightful)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989116)

Does Comcast have a death wish? It sounds like something out of Dilbert.

Re:Throttling (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22989120)

sometimes when I'm browsing the web, I like to throttle my penis.

Re:Throttling (1)

Slimee (1246598) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989190)

The sad thing is that even with all this negative stuff being dragged into the light and Comcast being caught with their dick caught in the zipper, people still subscribe to this service. Obviously it's mostly due in part to the fact that in many places Comcast is all that is offered, but people who have a choice and still use Comcast....

tarred and feathered?

Re:Throttling (1)

yamiyasha (1119417) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989708)

The sad thing is that even with all this negative stuff being dragged into the light and Comcast being caught with their dick caught in the zipper, people still subscribe to this service. Obviously it's mostly due in part to the fact that in many places Comcast is all that is offered, but people who have a choice and still use Comcast.... tarred and feathered?
My DSL Company won't provide me a stable line for P2P or even IRC, so I rather not deal with them

Re:Throttling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22989208)

that kinda defeats the purpose of throttling...

Re:Throttling (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989218)

Not that I'm siding with the ISPs, but what good is throttling their users if the users can just disable it?

Re:Throttling (5, Informative)

value_added (719364) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989270)

Throttling wouldn't be so bad if you could just opt out of it.

Indeed. If we were talking about throttling.

Which we're not.

If the article didn't make that clear, this wiki link [wikipedia.org] might help.

Re:Throttling (5, Insightful)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989274)

The ISP providing my home Internet connection throttles your performance by default, but if you visit one their website, you can change the settings to unthrottled
Wow... so you have to explicitly opt-in to receive the service that you paid for? You have to know about this throttling, visit a specific page, and flip a switch, in order to get non-degraded service. Is that even legal?

The fact that ISPs are doing this is scary. The fact that customers accept it is also scary.

The ISP figures most people aren't going to bother changing their settings, but the people who really love file-sharing are still free to do so.
Which seems kind of strange. The "problem users" are those savvy ones who transmit tons of data, who are the same ones who will probably change this setting. What's the point in throttling the non-savvy users who just do light web-browsing anyway?

Re:Throttling (1)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989408)

Most people will not care or notice. But the few who are smart enough to notice can basically "drink from the firehose". If, as ISPs say, they could not handle people using all their bandwidth I think this is a good solution.

You CAN opt out (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22989376)

Just use gopher.

they will only block offensive stuff (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22989082)

but we need people to block out the stuff that can be offensive to others!
Go Comcast!

Are you serious? (4, Insightful)

koh (124962) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989084)

How come they still have customers? Are they a de facto monopoly? Where are the class action lawsuits and the antitrust regulations then?

Re:Are you serious? (4, Insightful)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989204)

Because the people are saving with their $99 for Internet/phone/cable deal!!!! Bundle and save today!!!!!!

Most people don't realize it's happening, and/or don't understand what articles like this even mean (but look at Brittany's pregnant sister!! OMG!)

Re:Are you serious? (1)

CogDissident (951207) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989554)

Even at throttled-down speeds, they're still cheaper and faster than the competitors in my area. I'm switching the moment FIOS comes in, but its not quite here yet.

Re:Are you serious? (2, Interesting)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989230)

Yes.

I unfortunately have them because they have a contract with the city I live in and no one else has any lines near me. I checked for FiOS but it isn't available yet either. It was almost as bad as when I lived in an apartment complex that had a deal with NTC, which I believe is illegal now, which forced me to pay for their service. Looking back on it, I wish I could get NTC over Comcast.

Re:Are you serious? (5, Insightful)

j_166 (1178463) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989232)

"Are they a de facto monopoly?"

In my town they are. Oh, excuse me. They are "Franchised" by the township. Huge difference, apparently. Not in practice though.

Re:Are you serious? (5, Informative)

LoudNoiseElitist (1016584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989520)

I find it interesting that more people don't realize this. I'm tired of getting "USE SOMEONE ELSE" every time this issue comes up, and people simply do not realize that MANY smaller cities are literally stuck with Comcast until sometime towards the end of the second coming. It was great when it was the only way my city could even get cable 30 years ago, but now it's a mess, and Comcast is raping us for it.

Re:Are you serious? (4, Insightful)

Yurka (468420) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989236)

People who, when reading "forged packets", do not form a picture of counterfeit plastic bags in their heads are a small, albeit vocal minority. Comcast seems to have found the way to kick them off of its customer rolls by self-selection (the more /. stories stoking the outrage, the better), thereby only retaining the sheep. Good business plan, as I see it. Bully for them. The antitrust and legal issues can be sorted out, I would assume, by changing some verbiage in the customer agreement and allowing some sort of so-called oversight from the benevolent government.

Re:Are you serious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22989248)

Are they a de facto monopoly?
Yes.

Where are the class action lawsuits and the antitrust regulations then?
Nowhere, considering the government wants a communications monopoly, to make it easier to monitor people.

Re:Are you serious? (1)

Rand310 (264407) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989284)

Comcast is the defacto monopoly in my area.

All satellite providers are very low on the horizon in an older neighborhood with beautiful towering trees - so almost no one in the area can receive satellite signals from any of the GeoSynch sats up there.

ATT - the other monopoly - has been running FTTN but has somehow forgotten that people live more than 2000ft from busy intersections. The signal strength was abominable and they wouldn't install any service at our home.

There is no other choice - and no other competition.

Re:Are you serious? (1)

berashith (222128) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989312)

I am still a customer, not happily though. I am 4 meters too far for DSL, and the satelite and cell tower options aren't so hot. In general I do get decent bandwidth, but I will have to go check out this new behavior.

Most of the stuff they are doing does not effect me, thankfully. I have seen them destroy my BT traffic on the few occasions that I have tried it. That was well before the publicity, and I just blamed the protocol at the time. Now I know...

My options are dial-up (slow than throttled cable modems) or steal a neighbors wireless, and hope they aren't on comcast also.

How is this a bad thing? (5, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989348)

We synthetically generated TCP SYN packets at a rate of 100 SYN packets per second using the hping utility...In this section, we present our network traces that show the network behavior while the TCP SYN packets are being sent. All traces were collected during peak usage hours (7-9pm local time).

Okay, I'm not specifically a network engineer, but I like to think that I'm not network stupid. To me, this would sound suspiciously like someone trying to perform a denial of service attack.

Now, I can understand being irritated at forged packets coming back as a result, but at the same time, isn't it reasonable to expect Comcast to do something to shut down connections coming from this host? Frankly, I'm a little surprised that Comcast didn't shut off the connection altogether.

Am I missing something?

Re:Are you serious? (4, Informative)

quanticle (843097) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989362)

Comcast, in many locations, is not just a de-facto monopoly, they are a de-jure monopoly. Comcast negotiates with municipalities to be the sole cable provider to community. The best situation in many of these cases is a duopoly between Comcast and the local Baby Bell. Often, for many regions, Comcast is the sole broadband provider, since the residents are too far away from the CO for DSL.

Re:Are you serious? (2, Insightful)

schwinn8 (982110) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989748)

"Comcast negotiates with municipalities to be the sole cable provider to community." Because the FCC said they are not required to line-share. I mean, from Comcast's perspective, why would they share the line they put in? It would be bad business. The fact that the FCC is endorsing this is what bothers me.

Re:Are you serious? (3, Interesting)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989386)

They're probably a government mandated monopoly in many places which isn't a horrible system per say. The problem is that the government is doing jack shit to uphold it's end of the bargain which is to keep comcast in check. A company given an artificial monopoly will abuse it, directly or indirectly, and if you give a company a monopoly then you better also take the effort to keep them in check.

I have heard, for example, that roadrunner in NYC needs to provide satisfactory service to customers due to it being a government created monopoly. Sure they won't mention this but I have heard of at least one person making enough noise (ie: contacting every politician within 50 miles, among other things) to have roadrunner cave in (well first they begged him to switch to dsl then they caved in).

Re:Are you serious? (1)

bahwi (43111) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989504)

Yes, they are. I can get dsl, 128k down(overestimate, as DSL and comcast speeds are) with 24k up. SERIOUSLY.

I have it as a backup(Comcast has been down for a week at a time with only a busy signal for tech support).

Our city wide wireless is almost live. Thank YOU! I get top quality service. Now I just need a damn wifi card in my main pc again.

Re:Are you serious? (5, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989642)

How come they still have customers?

Their service is terrible and unreliable and they treat their customers like shit. This makes them a slightly better option than the local phone company.

Are they a de facto monopoly?

No. They are part of a government enforced duopoly. In most locations in the US only three companies have the legal right to use the right of ways that allow them to connect a line to your house. These companies are given an exclusive contract in most cases. They are:

  • The local power distribution monopoly. (Usually they stick to power but in a few cases they've started to roll out internet access over the power lines. The absurdity of such a plan speaks to how terrible the other options for internet in the U.S. are.
  • The local Cable company - provides cable TV and has expanded to internet access and phone service. In many places they are the only option for high speed internet. Right now I'm paying about $50/month for internet access from them and it comes with "free" cable TV. Of course it isn't free. In fact, internet without cable TV costs $60/month from them.
  • The local phone company - they have less coverage and the cheapest high speed DSL line I can get from them is $80 and comes with "free" local phone use. The phone company is the longest standing antitrust abuser and they treat all their customers like crap. Besides being more expensive they want you to give them all your personal information on a web form, just to see if they will provide service in your area. When I tried it, the Web form was broken and only worked in IE for Windows. Calling one the phone got me 20 minutes of muzac and then transferred to several people before anyone knew what DSL was.

In short, internet access options in most of the US sucks. We've already paid more per person in tax subsidies to the network providers than many other countries. Sweden, for example has slightly less population density and had a huge embezzling scandal in their national internet drive. They paid half as much per person as people in the US, have on average ten times faster connections, better uptime, and pay about half as much per month as US citizens.

The phone companies and the cable companies have lobbyists who legally bribe our politicians with campaign contributions. As a result, the good of the people isn't even considered. It is just a battle of whether a given law will give money to the cable company or the phone company. Either way citizens get the shaft.

Where are the class action lawsuits...

There are numerous ones making their slow progress through the courts, usually to end in a private settlement. One might actually go through sometime this decade, but the politicians has also been working on passing laws to grant retroactive immunity to network operators for malicious, illegal abuses under the guise of national security. There is little hope.

...and the antitrust regulations then?

The antitrust regulators are appointed by the executive branch. Both candidate's parties in the last two elections received huge donations from hundreds of private companies and for some reason antitrust regulators i the US show little or no interest in prosecuting even blatant antitrust abuses. (In the case of Microsoft, they had already been convicted and the new appointees, changed the punishment from being broken up, to a small fine and a pat on the back.)

Are they a de facto monopoly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22989712)

Yes, but it is probably a monopoly granted by your municipality. If you look closely at your bill, you will see something called a "municipal service fee" or some such nonsense. It may be a significant percentage of your total bill.

This municipal monopoly benefits you slightly by giving you a broadcast of board meetings and school lunch menus, but this monopoly greatly benefits incumbent politicians by giving them hours of free advertising with zero dissenting viewpoints where they can keep telling you how wonderful they are without having to tax you for the privilege.

Re:Are you serious? (1)

schwinn8 (982110) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989728)

It's a de-facto monopoly for my house. Can't get DSL (too far) and can't get FIOS (too rural for Verizon's attention, I assume). Heck, I can't even get satellite because I don't have clear LOS to it! But I trust the FCC... they say I have other solutions...

Damn... (5, Funny)

Starturtle (1148659) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989086)

...I wanted to have First Post but I had to find an available proxy to get through my ISP's traffic shaping technology

Surprise! (1)

mfh (56) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989090)

Stock prices continually look grim [google.com] for CMCSK.

Oh yeah, (0, Troll)

maxch (1264500) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989098)

Now I remember what this week's news were missing... Some Comcast throttling articles.

Comcast (1, Funny)

Sylos (1073710) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989104)

Triple play! Where you get your phone, internet, and television all on one bill! Next up! Comcast Quadruple Play! Where you get the bill for the complete STD test after Comcast finishes pwning you in the ass too!

soviet russia (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22989108)

The US has totally become Soviet Russia but in modern times, and honestly, that scares the fuck out of me, and how easily people are giving up their rights to privacy, or /not/ reacting when the government is invading basic human rights.

Maybe soon they'll flock to Canada, where you can drive from state to state without papers... and take two wives... (at least)

Bandwidth hogs (1)

mrbah (844007) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989118)

What do you expect? You can't have bandwidth hogs abusing the service by accessing web content not approved by the Comcastâ PremiumUltraProPlusPackageâ!

Threat to the future of humanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22989126)

This sort of behavior does not bode well at all for the future of open source governance [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Threat to the future of humanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22989426)

Maybe an open source government could _be_ the ISP?

UK ISPs do this all the time (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22989142)

Eclipse in the UK, since taken over by Kingston Communications, will packet shape you so hard, that even if only downloading a linux iso from p2p at 33kbps,they will disrupt all your connections, such that web browsing becomes a pre broadband experience. Don't use p2p and all plays nice again.

so nothing new in this here in the UK

Re:UK ISPs do this all the time (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989308)

I've seen it a lot too, but only really on ADSL connections. On cable it's nowhere to be seen. Of course, Virgin are going to be agressively snooping to look for dodgy P2P traffic in exchange for (supposedly unsnooped) free binary newsgroups access, so I doubt cable's going to be a good choice for long.

Re:UK ISPs do this all the time (1)

Lyrael (1196443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989338)

But, unlike the US, in the UK you have a *choice*.

If Eclipse is doing that to you, get the fuck off their service and use Be or something. The only thing most companies understand is money, take yours away from them.

Thankyou Comcast. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22989152)

When ISPs were just targetting the minority of users who use P2P (and then under the excuse of stopping piracy/ thinking of the children/ protecting us from terrrists) there would never be enough backlash from their users to stop this kind of abuse.

However if they start screwing with http, then suddenly every Joe Sixpack will be up in arms about traffic shaping, and maybe the pressure will be sufficient to actually bring about some change.

My sincere thanks, Comcast, for bringing this issue into the mainstream.

Re:Thankyou Comcast. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22989334)

However if they start screwing with http, then suddenly every Joe Sixpack will be up in arms about traffic shaping, and maybe the pressure will be sufficient to actually bring about some change.
Except Joe Sixpack probably isn't the one getting traffic shaped. I'm guessing HTTP is being throttled on the same accounts that are using P2P; I don't know many people that consume a lot of HTTP traffic all by themselves. If this throttling is affecting your average user, then their implementation is seriously wrong, and they'll need to fix it.

There's nothing wrong with protocol-neutral throttling. Inevitably, some people are going to draw excessive resources on the network that ruin it for everyone else (tragedy of the commons). Yes, everyone trots out that line about "paying for X bandwidth a month," but ISPs are always careful to state that it's "up to X bandwidth," and if you really want a guaranteed amount of bandwidth that isn't being subsidized by the majority of users, you need to be paying for a $100+ business-level service, or start cutting back on 24-7 torrenting.

Let me be the first to say (5, Funny)

rmdir -r * (716956) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989156)

NOT COMCASTIC

Re:Let me be the first to say (2, Informative)

ifrag (984323) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989404)

Actually, this is "Comcastic" since they are doing it, however it's not the definition they would like assigned to the word based on their advertisements.

what about those of us from forn parts? (1)

thermian (1267986) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989454)

Are visits from other ISPs to comcast controlled locations also shaped?

For instance, if I am playing a game against someone whose hosting, and they are on comcast, are my packets shaped too?

Not the best example, could be ssh for instance, (far more likely for me), or any one of a number of reasons, none of which are didgy in the least.

what's at 207.68.173.231 (0)

Charbox (1134059) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989172)

What is the 207.68.173.231 address they were having problems with? Some MSN host?

Urban Dictionary? (1)

Trevoke (821533) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989196)

So we're going to go from the known party term c*ckblocking to Comcasting.

I'm not sure it's all bad... (3, Interesting)

iceT (68610) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989200)

Responding on behalf of hosts that don't (aren't supposed to) exist isn't necessarily a bad thing. It can save on the 45 second timeout for customers, and can help keep FW state tables smaller.

That being said.. spoofing addresses to return RST commands and etc. just SUCKS.

I wish DSL providers would improve their coverage. Many people don't have a choice of anything BUT Comcrap.

Re:I'm not sure it's all bad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22989668)

Responding on behalf of hosts that don't (aren't supposed to) exist isn't necessarily a bad thing.

If thats all they were doing, that'd be one thing (it'd still be a pain for spam filters that check URLs in emails, etc). The other entries in their examples all actually exist. (I think they picked 2.2.2.2 to disprove the cries of "bs, the server just dropped your connection, comcast didn't do anything, why do you hate progress/america/my stock portfolio?!")

Alternatives? (1)

JudgeSlash (823985) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989214)

Time to crack out the champagne and christen the good ship Tubetanic as she sets off on her voyage to provide a data-haven in international waters?

I'm ready. No, seriously, I only just put this pirate costume on.

CableVision is doing the same (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22989220)

CableVision has been having the same disruptions as Comcast.

It disrupts BT, P2P distribution, and even Tor when just being used as a client! At first it works, then connections slowly die off and new ones cannot be opened. It happens most aggressively during prime-time, but it also is done any-time-of-day. Fortunately the telephone still works as it's UDP based...once they start filtering that, it'll only be a matter of time until someone dies because 911 doesn't work.

Read the featured article (5, Informative)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989228)

1. It is a darn good read. Concise, short and to the point.
2. They are using firefox.
3. The Slashdot headline is not completely accurate.

The /. headline had me thinking one thing - but reading the article clarified my one knee jerk reaction: "You cannot browse the web - at all!?"

Reading the article I got the idea that is not exactly the case...

Re:Read the featured article (5, Funny)

Lyrael (1196443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989402)

Ah, you must be new here. All *I* got from reading the /. headline was 'Comcast are evil, fire insults at will.'

Re:Read the featured article (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989618)

Oh, i am not new here - it's my therapist... he said I need to change at least one thing for the positive every day...

This has taken me two weeks to do... *sobs*

Interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22989256)

But it sounds like Sandvine should ship them a newer load - perhaps they should beef up their SQA team.

It's not interfering with my browser or bittorrent (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989288)

I am getting torrent speeds around 200K/second. Is filtering specific to some region or bittorrent client? Does Mac TCP stack confuse it in some way? It seems to me that they face a mass exodus of customers to AT&T if they really break torrents for everyone.

Re:It's not interfering with my browser or bittorr (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989394)

Must be. I'm in southwest virginia and can't get a torrent to get over 15kb/s, and strangely my upload speeds are in the 50s.

Re:It's not interfering with my browser or bittorr (2, Informative)

01000011011101000111 (868998) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989492)

Urm.... have you tried setting your upload cap? My line maxes out (admittedly, UK cable) at about 600kb/s *BUT* only if i lock the upload to around the 20-25kb/s region... Allow it to go unrestricted and it'll eat all your timeslots on the cable with upload packets forcing your downstream rate to suffer...

Cancel (5, Interesting)

Badbone (1159483) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989310)

Im tired of Comcast pulling stunts like this too. So today I did something about it. I cancelled my Comcast service. Completely cancelled. And when I called to cancel, I let them know exactly why.

Granted, the person on the other end of the phone doesnt know or care about such issues as net neutrality. But she did ask why I was cancelling, and she did type in my response. So hopefully someone down the line will read it. But even if they dont, at least I know that my money will not be going to a company I despise.

Re:Cancel (3, Funny)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989734)

Don't worry, they won't read it.

I had problems Saturday (1)

weave (48069) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989320)

I couldn't get to *some* of the hosts at the College I work at around 7am Saturday morning (EDT). Some were fine. That's for ssh, http, https, and even vpn. I could ping all the hosts and ping could get through, but no tcp connections I tried. I tried going the opposite direction from those hosts later back to my linux box via ssh at home and couldn't get through either. The at 2pm eastern everything just started to work again.

Re:I had problems Saturday (1)

StonyUK (173886) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989440)

I think this affected some of our customers as well on Saturday.

What I'd like to have is a button to put on our website's frontpage that only appears if the user is a Comcast subscriber. Any ideas how to determine ISP from IP?

Re:I had problems Saturday (1)

boris111 (837756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989572)

Me too and during the exact same time frame. I could not get to any websites. I live in South Eastern PA.

Never noticed (2, Informative)

jgarra23 (1109651) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989332)

I upload & download tons on Comcast's network. OTOH I don't pirate software or music. Really, I make heavy use of the bandwidth given me (routine full load) and I've never received any of these notices, any sort of throttling or anything else. Is there a site with all the assumed proff of all this Comcast badness going on that I can look at?

I'd be impressed if the loudest complainers weren't some sort of thieving pirate.

huh? (1)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989352)

thats a might interesting business tactic there:- hose the horrible customers who pay the comcast wages.

running on the assumption that Comcast is not run by brain dead half arsed idiots, then there must be some logical explanation for such bizzare moves recently.

top of the list is the assumption that the majority of their users will not be affected by this and that they will no doubt happily lose the users that are. this is the kind of logic I have heard before from ISPs.

1. sell unlimited internet connection that due to the powers of obfuscated and cunning advertising is actually limited to XGb a month
2. limit the users that dare use more then they deem is reasonable for everyday use
3. quietly ban, drop or otherwise lose the 5% of horrible users who take 95% of the bandwith
4. ??
5. ??
6. too obvious

but in todays media rich net such tactics are not really viable. and such underhand tactics (by which I mean undeclared, unacknowledged throttling and limiting) are always going to be caught and trumpeted around the 'net. Comcast *must* know this, so therefore there is some rationale behind their moves that seems reasonable from their point of view. But for the life of me I cannot see it.

Re:huh? (1)

Lyrael (1196443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989448)

It may be trumpeted around the net but their if their users can't read it where's the problem? ;)

Re:huh? (1)

Lyrael (1196443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989472)

Hmmm, even the forced preview isn't enough to compensate for my lack of proofreading. - a 'their'

Re:huh? (1)

lyonsden (543685) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989656)

3. quietly ban, drop or otherwise lose the 5% of horrible users who take 95% of the bandwith

Those 5% who are the ones called on to give their opinions regarding which ISP to use? The 5% who will NEVER reccomend Comcast if there is any other alternative?

Sounds like a winning plan to me!

They are still forging packets (3, Interesting)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989396)

The biggest objection to what Comcast was doing was that they were generating reset packets that didn't originate with either host.

Now, this article seems to say that they will generate reset packets for hosts that don't even exist on the internet. This may be a kind of throttling, but it is sill FORGERY, and shouldn't be allowed at all.

comcast charges for opting out (5, Informative)

poptart (145881) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989428)

This is a bit off-topic, but it does have to do with comcast.

Last month I called comcast to tell them I did not want to be called, mailed, or emailed by them or any of their 'partners'. I called in response to a mailing from comcast that provided a phone number for opting out. FWIW, I have been receiving junk mail (post and electronic) from comcast encouraging me to get internet service from them, despite the fact that I have been a comcast internet customer since it was RCN.

Yesterday I received my monthly comcast bill, and on the bill was a $1.99 charge for "change of service". I called comcast, since I recalled making no changes to my service in the past decade. The telephone operator said "that charge is for when you called to opt-out of the comcast and partner mailings". She quickly followed with "we can remove that charge with a credit to your next statement".

Sigh.

$1.99 is not much, and almost not worth the time calling about it. But the attitudes and practices behind the fee are what get my goat.

Re:comcast charges for opting out (4, Funny)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989546)

By the way, that $1.99 credit to your account constitutes a "change of service"...

I wonder... (4, Insightful)

richardtallent (309050) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989458)

I wonder what Comcast's network would look like if they spent as much money improving bandwidth as they apparently do "shaping" (damaging) the traffic already on their wires.

Clearly evident if you're a comcast subscriber (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22989480)

The difference in performance is blatantly obvious. I run legal bittorrents sharing shows authorized for trade by the bands. If I have utorrent running, browsing actively on more than 2 tabs is pointless. Pages loading slowly under those circumstances instantly deliver if I shut off utorrent.

Wasn't there a story up a couple weeks ago about the FCC finding Comcast's actions to be illegal but lacking the appropriate authority to actually do anything about it?

And since someone asked, yes, Comcast is the only cable option in my area.

I've noticed this on my Comcast connection (1)

techmuse (160085) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989482)

I've definitely noticed this happening. I get TCP Resets on my comcast link on random web pages all the time for no apparent reason. Doesn't matter what the server is.

Roll on Verizon (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989488)

In the next few weeks Verizon will be rolling out fibre to my neighborhood. And while Verizon may have its own issues, it will be interesting to see what Comcast has to say when I start to think about shifting ISPs.

I hate comcast, but.... (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989496)

Let me first say that I dislike comcast and as soon as there is some real competition I will drop them. I.E. when FiOS comes to town, fuck comcast.

That being said, they are in a bad position of having to provide high speed service to a lot of people cheaply.

The 70 year old grandmother pays as much as the P2P users but the P2P software is designed to maximize throughput typically at the expense of the other network users. So, while someone is "gaming" the network to get better bandwidth, granny is having a hard time downloading pictures of her grandkids.

There are times when there are no "good" answers to a problem, only degrees of less bad. I'm not trying to defend Comcast, per se', I'm just trying to have an open mind about the issue. Bandwidth throttling/shaping is a necessary part of network management, I don't have a problem with it as long as it is applied fairly and without prejudice.
 

But Comcast are affecting a DoS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22989682)

Which will affect your poor grannie too.

Isn't 100 syn packets a second a bit abnormal? (4, Interesting)

InsaneGeek (175763) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989502)

Sending 100 syn packets per second to an invalid internet address... that would seem like a big red someone stupid is trying (or testing) a DOS syn attack flag to any ISP worth their salt. They basically were trying to create 100 outbound connection attempts per second for an extended period of time, I would be more annoyed if the ISP didn't catch something like that, only need a few hosts to build up a nice syn attack and overrun someone's tcp stack.

I call bullshit on this one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22989516)

Comcast craps out at 100 connection attempts per second.
XP SP2 craps out at 10 connection attempts per second.

This is merely DDoS protection against infected customer machines, not even necessarily for their own infrastructure.
You will not ever hit this limit by browsing the web, like the headline suggests.

In the near future... (1)

electricbern (1222632) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989530)

...all they will need is one rule: DENY ALL.

The methodology looks suspect (4, Insightful)

berashith (222128) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989536)

please someone correct me, but this appears like comcast is knocking down SYN floods. If this is the case, it is a good thing. In fact, if they stopped all connections both ways to some tool who is slamming the network with a bunch of crap at peak time for a limited time on each offense, wouldn't that be a good thing ?

Best method to determine RST packets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22989590)

My brother has comcast and up until recently, we used iChat to video conference. Nothing changed in either of our setups, and yet he is no longer able to participate in any audio or video conferences with me or anyone. Both ends just report that the other party did not respond.

What's the best method to see these RST packets?

Television (3, Insightful)

Dancindan84 (1056246) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989598)

Just wait till they do the same thing with TV/phone: Hundreds of channels* Free unlimited long distance** *If you watch your TV more than 20 hours a month we'll cut you off **As long as you don't place a lot of really long distance calls. Then we'll throttle them so you only get every 3rd word

Check this consumer advocate site... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22989644)

http://clarkhoward.com/ [clarkhoward.com]

He criticizes Comcast all the time and is in favor of Net Neutrality. There IS a movement to put those people in line.

Me: they are a shit company.

Comcast (1)

ralph1 (900228) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989664)

All of this is because FCC has fallen down on the job. Comcast has oversold there network capacity.

I usually have no problems with CC (1)

xx01dk (191137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989690)

It's sorta funny, but two nights ago I had my first ever real problem with Comcast in about 2 years. I spent 22 minutes on hold and another half-hour talking to a somewhat competent Indian lady (who would nevertheless get flustered if I tried to "fast forward" her script lol). Since I had already "power cycled" my modem twice before I called with no effect, I'm slightly mystified as to what, if anything, she did on her end, but my connection isn't dropping packets anymore...

Local routers defend agaist DOS attack (5, Informative)

natoochtoniket (763630) | more than 6 years ago | (#22989698)

We synthetically generated TCP SYN packets at a rate of 100 SYN packets per second using the hping utility ... The IP Time to Live (TTL) field for these forged TCP RST packets is consistently set to 255

So, when new connection requests are issued at the rate of 100 per second, the first router is resetting some of those requests.

The application is issuing new connection requests at a prodigious rate. The router determines that this is beyond the capacity for the router, or perhaps beyond some limit imposed on that router by the internal network. Or, perhaps, it is beyond a rate parameter that is used to detect DOS attacks.

When such a limit is exceeded, there are a few reasonable responses for the router to choose from: It can drop random packets; It can drop random SYN packets; it can drop packets from the attacking host; or it can NAK/RST some of those SYN packets. All of those are legitimate router responses. The reset packets are not "forged". They are legitimate responses in the protocol. The primitive operation is called a "provider disconnect indication".

I don't see any problem in the protocol here. And, I don't see any problem in the router behavior. The router is just protecting itself and the network from overload conditions. By selecting to disconnect calls from a host that is using far more resource than other hosts, it is just protecting the other hosts from a DOS attack by that first host.

The title of the summary should be "Local routers defend agaist DOS attack".

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