Sky blocks news site after DNS exploit
A court-ordered block on two file-sharing sites has resulted in overblocking on Sky’s network, with the ISP filtering legitimate sites by accident in its efforts to combat copyright theft.
Sky, TalkTalk, BT and Virgin were all ordered to block file-sharing sites EZTV and YIFY Torrents in July, on grounds of copyright infringement.
However, Sky’s web filters were erroneously blocking any site listed in EZTV’s DNS records, including legal sites, notes ISPreview.
This essentially means that EZTV, or any other blocked site, has the power to render entire websites inaccessible to Sky subscribers
EZTV discovered the flaw by using geoDNS to point its UK visitors to TorrentFreak’s IP address, a legitimate news site that covers copyright news but is not itself a file-sharing service.
The trick resulted in the site being blocked, TorrentFreak’s founder said.
“This essentially means that EZTV, or any other blocked site, has the power to render entire websites inaccessible to Sky subscribers,” said Lennart Renkema, writing under his pseudonym Ernesto. “Luckily we were the target and not Google.”
The problem doesn’t necessarily stretch that far: EZTV also tried adding some of Facebook’s IP addresses to its DNS records, but didn’t manage to get the site blocked by Sky.
Sky confirmed that it had blocked TorrentFreak. “Torrent Freak was inadvertently blocked due to EZTV pointing one of its URLs at the site,” said a spokesperson.
“We have a process in place which monitors this type of disruptive behaviour, and when we discover it, we will take the necessary steps to remove any unintended blocks. To be clear, Sky only ever blocks sites in line with court orders,” he added.
The ISP told PC Pro the site was unblocked again as of Friday evening.
Although TorrentFreak was only unavailable to Sky users, a number of Sky and Virgin customers have also said they’re struggling to access other legitimate sites such as radiotimes.com.
It isn’t clear whether that’s related to EZTV or other file-sharing site blocks. Virgin has yet to reply to request for comment, and Sky said it was looking into the issue.