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Mediacom Using DPI To Hijack Searches, 404 Errors 379

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the well-thats-not-cool dept.
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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Mediacom Using DPI To Hijack Searches, 404 Errors

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  • Re:HTTPS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @08:47AM (#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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @08:49AM (#35952136)

    Aargh! FFS, learn to type!

  • Re:Simple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @08:49AM (#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.

  • by ejtttje (673126) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @08:53AM (#35952190) Homepage
    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.
  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @08:59AM (#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:HTTPS (Score:2, Insightful)

    by david.emery (127135) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @09:01AM (#35952278)

    Someone please mod as troll.

  • Re:HTTPS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sverdlichenko (105710) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @09:01AM (#35952284) Homepage
    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.
  • Wire Fraud? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lobsterGun (415085) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @09:03AM (#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?

  • by maxwell demon (590494) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @09:17AM (#35952438) Journal

    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. :-)

  • Re:FTC Complaint (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nemesisghost (1720424) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @09:27AM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @09:33AM (#35952638)

    How many times does it have to be pointed out that the reason there is no competition is BECAUSE of government regulation?

    You know why you're stuck with two monopolies? Because it's illegal to compete with them. No one else can run wires, no one else can offer service.

    This is the reason startups are trying end-rounds around government regulation with wireless-based solutions. Of course, that's also a regulatory minefield, so I wouldn't expect much out of that.

    But if you wanted a choice between more than one ISP, well, you should ask your local government why they refuse to allow anyone else to compete. (As it's generally local city or state government laws that forbid anyone else.)

    More regulation is not the answer here. We already saw what happened when members of Congress took up "network neutrality" - somehow it became a new fairness doctrine, with riders on it for increased government surveillance, and none of the actual "neutral net access" stuff survived. Funny, that.

  • Re:HTTPS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mjeffers (61490) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @09:43AM (#35952754) Homepage

    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.

    That makes it sound like all an ISP would have to do is to put this certificate into an installer that provides it's users with "valuable connection tools and internet utilities". Ship a few CDs to customers and you'll get a large number of people installing and clicking through whatever dialogs pop up because they think they'll need to in order to get online.

  • Re:HTTPS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by david.emery (127135) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @09:44AM (#35952764)

    Short answer, yes. When I'm working on software/systems architecture standards, etc, there is a disproportionate number of Macs around the room. The value of the Mac as a platform is that it can be simple, but that it also has the full power of Unix underneath. That makes the platform appealing to both those who don't want to have to mess with their computers (like my mother) and to those of us who routinely use "su" and other such facilities. A lot of what I know about working on Unix machines fully transfers over to the Mac.

    Making a machine easy to use is not necessarily correlated with ignorant users. A strong platform should support users at all levels.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @09:54AM (#35952868)
    No. There is a monopoly because building the infrastructure is extremely expensive, and requires liens on many unrelated person's properties. It is a natural monopoly (just like water and natural gas). Your irrational anti-government bias is showing.
  • by jandersen (462034) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @09:56AM (#35952884)

    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.

    Why not go the full mile, and decide that the internet is essential infrastructure and should be provided by the state? I know all the usual arguments, "the government is evil per definition", and "all public efforts are big, bumbling wastes of time and money". Both are disingenious, bordering on fraudulent - the state is NOT the government, just for one thing, and most of government is not the politicians; and even politicians are not all thoroughly evil, believe it or not.

    And, as a matter of fact, most state driven projects are not all that bad - some are even highly succesful. It's just that bad news sell better and of course, it mets the expectations of the readers that "governments are evil and useless" - why else would they ask us to pay tax?

  • Re:Simple (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @09:57AM (#35952892)

    You mean "less likely to damage its trusted cargo than either of the major private carriers"? Sure, why not? I would have used the Interstate Highway system as my analogy, but whatever boats your float.

  • Re:Simple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday April 27, 2011 @10:11AM (#35953076)

    Slow, 3 days across country for a couple dollars is slow?
    They are the cheapest and lose/break less than the other carriers.
    They only operate as a loss as they are forbidden to raise prices except for with inflation. Since we fudge they inflation number they are stuck in the middle.

    I am not sure when Americans decided unions were evil, but I enjoy 40hour weeks and 5 day work weeks. Without unions we would all be virtual slaves.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell

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