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Charter Implements SiteFinder-Like DNS 206

Posted by kdawson
from the fun-and-games dept.
paulbiz writes "Charter Cable's DNS servers have just started resolving all invalid hostnames and pointing them to their own error page. The About page states: 'This service automatically eliminates many of the error pages you may encounter as you surf the web. No software was installed on your computer for this service to work.' It has an 'opt-out' page, but when you use it Charter simply sets a cookie that makes their page redirect errors to Microsoft Live Search instead!" One more reason to use OpenDNS, where you can actually opt out of the custom error page.
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Charter Implements SiteFinder-Like DNS

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  • I have a feeling (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kobaz (107760) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @09:35AM (#18022592)
    I have a feeling that this will die a quick painful death just like sitefinder did.
  • by the unbeliever (201915) <chris+slashdot&atlgeek,com> on Thursday February 15, 2007 @09:36AM (#18022596) Homepage
    Reading things on their faq, like "intercepts phishing attempts" and "corrects typos"

    No thanks, I'll just use my work's DNS servers from anywhere I go, since we're not douchebags and don't want to make more income by hijacking other people's surfing.

    Also, Earthlink has been doing this for months, which is why I recently replaced the DNS servers that have been burned into my skull since working there in 1998.

  • by jkmullins (643492) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @09:38AM (#18022618) Homepage
    I quit using it months ago. Every time I had to go to their DNS to do a lookup I didn't have cached, the first lookup would timeout every single time. The second lookup would only work about 50%. Last time I checked, they were just as bad as ever. I've pointed several friends to OpenDNS and they were all amazed at the difference. Charter's customer server is horrendous and the only reason they have a market lead in this area is because they have exclusive service in so many apartments and subdivisions.
  • Re:Pretty Confusing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @09:44AM (#18022672) Journal

    Do you use your Internet connection for anything other than HTTP? If so, this 'service' could break things for you. If you use FTP, for example, and typo a hostname then instead of getting a 'server not found' error, you will get a 'connection refused' error. This will make it look like the host is up, but the FTP server is broken.

    The same is true of pings. If you ping a non-existent host, then instead of being told 'this host does not exist,' you will get ping returns from their server.

    This can potentially break a lot of things. On the plus side, since the ISP is now directly manipulating the data flowing over your Internet connection (and violating a few RFCs), it can no longer claim to be a common carrier and is therefore liable for all copyright infringement committed by its subscribers.

  • ORSN is better. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JamesTRexx (675890) <m DOT nystrom AT mbitz DOT nl> on Thursday February 15, 2007 @10:02AM (#18022796) Homepage Journal
    I've been looking at different alternatives to the standard root servers and didn't like OpenDNS either as they also change DNS replies.
    My search ended with ORSN [orsn.net], a European "backup" of ICANN servers. This way I shouldn't be affected by attacks and outages on ICANN servers.
  • I doubt it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Shawn is an Asshole (845769) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @10:13AM (#18022896)
    Earthlink still has their version Sitefinder. Charter will likely continue with this bad idea. Others will likely follow.

    At least Earthlink offers "opt out servers [earthlink.net]" that function properly.
  • Hosts file (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DebateG (1001165) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @10:38AM (#18023270)
    I have Charter, and this annoys me to no end. I simply added www11.charter.net (the website they're currently redirecting me to) to my hosts file, so I get an "Unable to connect" message. It's not perfect, but it at least gives me a somewhat meaningful error.
  • Re:Pretty Confusing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by encoderer (1060616) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @10:39AM (#18023282)
    1. Non-Telco-ISPs and cable companies are not, and never have been, Common Carriers
    2. Non-Telco-ISPs and cable companies DO NOT WANT TO BE common carriers.
    3. ISPs are protected by the Good Samaritan provisions of the Communications Decency Act. THIS is what protects them from liability, NOT common carrier status.
  • Re:Pretty Confusing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tendays (890391) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @10:45AM (#18023366)
    If you think that's bad, see what my isp (netcabo, Portugal) is doing:

    Every now and then when they want to send me a message (e.g. to tell me about "special offers" or whatever), they intercept one of my http requests and reply with a redirect to a page on their website, with the oh-so-important message and a link to the page I had asked for.

    Needless to say that scripts that automatically parse web pages get confused.
  • by _peter (54875) on Thursday February 15, 2007 @10:59AM (#18023572) Homepage
    I noticed this last night, called to complain about it, and spent over an hour on the phone with their tech support. First I had to convince them it was really happening and it was a change to their DNS, it wasn't some browser setting I had ``accidentally'' changed. So they apparently made this change without letting their 1st and 2nd level support know about it.

    Then once I got high enough, they tried to weasel out of it with their lame opt-out solution, which even if it worked wouldn't help when I'm making non-browser-based connections. So I guess they want all of my typo'd telnet, ssh, ftp and ping commands to hit their search server instead?

    At the end, I asked to be transferred to account services to cancel (gosh I hope Bell doesn't pull the same shit in a month), and the admittedly very understanding engineer begged for a day to look into a way to completely remove the feature from my account. So I'll be calling back tonight.

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