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Re: US internet providers hijacking users' search queries
From: Christopher Morrow <morrowc.lists () gmail com>
Date: Mon, 8 Aug 2011 19:24:35 -0400

On Sat, Aug 6, 2011 at 10:03 PM, Scott Helms <khelms () ispalliance net> wrote:
Not trying to be obtuse, but none of the technical docs you cite appear to
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 in
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 happening.
 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 and
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.


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