Mediacom keeps getting worse and worse. As I’ve mentioned before. Mediacom is my ISP at home. Unfortunately, it’s the only service of reasonable speed at a decent price available for my address.
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For the past few months, I’ve noticed that I seemingly randomly get redirected to a “Mediacom Assist” page, located at http://assist.mediacomcable.com. I assumed that they were being evil, and inspecting dns packets for NXDOMAIN (I don’t use their DNS servers, so it couldn’t just be Sitefinder-type junk.) However, I seemed to randomly hit links to working sites (ie, google.com) that also returned this error – just figured it was a fluke in their mechanism, and moved on. I just had a kid, after all, I’m too busy to be digging into what stupid things my ISP is doing! ;)
Tonight, I was reading the fun thread about MacPadd at Tom’s Hardware, and they have a link to the LiveJournal blog that MacPadd was posting at for awhile. The given URL was macpadd.livejournal.com. When I hit this page, Mediacom sends me over to “Assist”. I know that LiveJournal has a wildcard set up, so this should not be possible. For the fun of it, I set up a tcpdump, and checked what happens when I try to hit that page.. here are the results:
GET / HTTP/1.1 Host: macpadd.livejournal.com User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-US; rv:18.104.22.168) Gecko/20091109 Ubuntu/9.10 (karmic) Firefox/3.5.5 FirePHP/0.3 Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8 Accept-Language: en-us,en;q=0.5 Accept-Encoding: gzip,deflatehttp://www.natecarlson.com/wp-admin/plugins.php Accept-Charset: ISO-8859-1,utf-8;q=0.7,*;q=0.7 Keep-Alive: 300 Connection: keep-alive
Ahem. The same query from a non-mediacom machine returns the expected 404 page from LiveJournal. So, apparently Mediacom is doing deep packet inspection, and rewriting 404’s under certain circumstances. The page that they redirect you to also has a pile of ‘Sponsored Links’ that are going to make them cash. Chances are this is all about the cash for them. They offer an opt-out, but who knows what else they are hijacking? This is just wrong and EVIL. For all I know, they could intercepting ads for Comcast or satellite TV and replacing them with their own. Or just about anything else, as long as money is involved.
Could we please get a net neutrality bill passed that says that ISP’s are not allowed to muck with our packets in this way? Well, maybe not – any net neutrality bill that would actually get passed would probably contain more harm than good. ;)
After figuring out what they were doing, I found lots of other posts about this.. anyone else find this to be pathetic?