Strong opinions, weakly held

The risks of monkeying with DNS

It looks like the increasing unwillingness of ISPs to just return a “host not found” response to the browser is starting to cause problems. ISPs have figured out that it’s easy to make money by intercepting DNS errors and redirecting browsers to ads. The ISPs justify this by saying that the DNS errors aren’t helpful and that they’re adding value, but it’s a transparent money grab.

As is so often the case with these kinds of schemes, the people who implemented it did an awful job, and opened a huge exploitable hole that enabled malicious sites to hijack real domains and impersonate their owners. I can’t help but wonder if the reason so many of these boneheaded money making schemes are rife with security holes is that the companies can’t find any decent programmers who are willing to build them.

I expect to see a lot more of this thing happening as ISPs continue to try to exploit their position between users and the sites they’re trying to reach.

1 Comment

  1. (Funny, I thought this was going to be an anti-OpenDNS article from the headline.)

    Traffic hijacking is pretty malicious. It might even have copyright implications. If you write a book, and Borders only sells it after selling adspace on all the pages you left blank, you’d have a pretty solid copyright claim. Maybe a forward thinking court would see the analogy to a domain.

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