* Posts by Chris

2 posts • joined 18 Apr 2007

Orange broadband trials error hijacking


Orange's solution

I have been speaking to even more people at Orange customer relations about this.

Yesterday I was told: "If you want to see page cannot be displayed, when you mistype a URL you should unplug your network cable".

Today I was actually told by the first CSR I have got through to that actually understands it - that they have put the new feature on the following two DNS servers:

And if I don't like the new features I can use the follwing:

The problem is that the livebox doesn't seem to let you configure which DNS it uses, so you have to put the settings in each machine you use on your network (and remove them from any laptop when you go to another network).

The email I am waiting (and have been for 32 days) for a response from went as follows:


Thank you for your response.

It is a change that you have put in to the service in the past few days and is against the DNS standards that define how DNS should be used. This idea was tried by EarthLink in the USA and you only have to do a simple Google search to see how their customers reacted to it and how EarthLink have backed down from forcing it on all their customers. It was also tried by versign on a much larger scale and faced an even bigger backlash from web users the world over - and also resulted in them being taken to court by ICANN the people responsible for names and numbers (i.e. dns lookups)

I noticed that you assert there are not privacy issues. I assert that there are and they are as follows:

* With the correct implementation of a DNS server the only information that can be collected for incorrect addresses is the server hostname. You are now able to and actually collecting and using the full URL

* If someone attempts to connect to a private server (eg a corporate server) which is not accessible from the internet but is accessible through a vpn then if they have not got their vpn connected you are able to capture the full URL they were trying to access rather than just the server name

* You are collecting a "participant id" swell as the failed URL

There are also other issues:

* An incorrectly typed URL can no longer be corrected by simply modifying the typo - it has to be completely re-written

* The errors.orange.co.uk page is badly written so it is not supported by Internet Explorer on mobile devices. I use the wifi connection on my Orange phone to connect to my Orange broadband. If I were to mistype a URL I now get a silly orange advert page with a popup dialog box saying the page has more than 10 frames and is not supported in pocket internet explorer. Obviously, this was not an issue before you started redirecting all the traffic

* The IE address bar keeps a list of recently typed addresses, the incorrect addresses are kept in it because of the DNS response saying that address exists

* Some software relies on the error response from DNS queries such as third party spam filtering tools that want to check that a return email address has a valid dns record

* Other (non internet browser) traffic stalls (eg telnet, pop3, imap4, ssh, https) because the DNS server directs the traffic to your barefruit server which simply ignores it. If the DNS server respond with the "domain name does not exist" error the software could easily deal with this rather than waiting for a timeout

* Increased web traffic - loading your error page takes many KB of data instead of a few bytes of data to say domain name does not exist - this increases the chance of your customers going over their capped allowance

* You have not told your tech support people so they don't understand that this is happening

Finally you are just plain not providing a DNS server as prescribed in the internet standards therefore you are not providing an internet service.

If you are not happy to remove the service completely just yet then may I suggest you take a leaf out of EarthLink's book and provide a 'traditional' dns server that provides standard responses in addition to your newly modified ones.

I look forward to your reply,



Orange tech support claim they aren't doing this

I contacted Orange tech support when I first noticed this on 15th March and they told me to email them. I emailed them on 19th March and haven't had a response yet (1 month later).

Today I called. The guy, Melchious, and his supervisor both claimed that Orange are not doing this.

How can they be "gauging customer reaction" if they haven't told their support staff about it?


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