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Re: US internet providers hijacking users' search queries
From: Christopher Morrow <morrowc.lists () gmail com>
Date: Mon, 8 Aug 2011 20:56:32 -0400

On Mon, Aug 8, 2011 at 7:47 PM, Cameron Byrne <cb.list6 () gmail com> wrote:

On Aug 8, 2011 4:24 PM, "Christopher Morrow" <morrowc.lists () gmail com>

On Sat, Aug 6, 2011 at 10:03 PM, Scott Helms <khelms () ispalliance net>
Not trying to be obtuse, but none of the technical docs you cite appear
talk about HTTP proxies nor does the newswire report have any technical
details.  I have tested several of the networks listed in the report and
none of the cases I saw was there HTTP proxy activity.  Picking up on
WCCP/TCS isn't that hard (I used to install those myself) so unless
there is
some functionality in IOS and/or JUNOS that allows I don't see it
 Paxfire can operate all of the proxies they want but the network
infrastructure has to be able to pass the traffic over to those proxies
I don't see it (on at least 3 of the networks cited).

barefruit/paxfire/nominum/etc all do essentially the same thing:
1) install a dns-appliance in-line (some form of in-line, there are
lots of options, it's not really important in the end which is used)
between 'cache resolver' and 'user'. ( has a paxfire
appliance literally in-line between it's customer facing port and the

2) chose a set/subset of queries to falsify answers for (nxdomain
only? autosearch.msn.com? *.google.com? *?)

3) run a farm of servers somewhere else (in the case of paxfire they
are the jomax.net servers:
;asdkjad912jd.123adsad.com.     IN      A
asdkjad912jd.123adsad.com. 60   IN      A
asdkjad912jd.123adsad.com. 60   IN      A
asdkjad912jd.123adsad.com. 65535 IN     NS      WSC2.JOMAX.NET.
asdkjad912jd.123adsad.com. 65535 IN     NS      WSC1.JOMAX.NET.

 In the case of barefruit it's another complex and in the case of
nominum it's a third complex ...

4) accept http/https/etc on the complex of servers, funnel you an
answer which is essentially 'hostname == search-query'. For non-http
most of these complexes are SUPPOSED to not permit a connect to
happen... for jomax at least they don't accept tcp/443, they do accept
25 though :(

5) profit if users click on these results.

It's not black magic, it's annoying and wrong for some versions
(depending upon your ethics I guess?) of wrong :( I wish ISP's would
stop doing this, and it seems that some folk have luck twisting arms
at ISP's to make this stop.


Some people believe the search results are a better user experience than the
error page they would otherwise receive.  The "awesome bar" is a similar

sure, but users requested that 'feature' and it's there for only
http/https traffic. it's not being done at the lower layers of the
stack, for all applications off the client machine.

messing with basic plumbing will have unintended consequences, they will be bad.

If the users her WANT to have this experience, there are lots of
in-browser/application methods to achieve this, hijacking DNS at the
resolver is really just NOT the right answer, ever.


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