Author Topic: Mediacom is hijacking my URL requests!!!  (Read 9642 times)

IrritatedCustomer

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Mediacom is hijacking my URL requests!!!
« on: January 26, 2011, 05:39:24 PM »
Mediacom is suddenly intercepting my Google queries and redirecting them to their own search page. 

I use Mozilla Firefox to browse the Internet.  The current version of the browser will automatically detect when you type an invalid domain into the navigation bar.  Since it isn't a valid URL, they assume it was a search query and by default submit it to Google.  They get the first result from the Google results and redirect you to that page.  This is the equivalent of doing an "I'm Feeling Lucky" search on Google.

So for example, if I wanted to read the Wikipedia page about the moon, instead of typing the long URL for the page:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon
I just type into my browser:
wiki moon
I know that with those two keywords there's a 99% probability that the first Google result will be the Wikipedia page for the moon.

Behind the scenes my browser takes the phrase "wiki moon" and passes it to this page on Google:
http://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=wiki+moon
For the past two to three years, this page has then take me to:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon
In nine characters of typing, I got to the page that I wanted.  Rather convenient, wouldn't you agree?

However, what happens now is incredibly annoying and I think quite rude.  When Mediacom detects me going to this page:
http://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=wiki+moon
They send me to this page:
http://assist.mediacomcable.com/mediacomassist/dnsassist/main/?domain=http%3A//www.google.com/search%3Fie%3DUTF-8%26oe%3DUTF-8%26sourceid%3Dnavclient%26gfns%3D1%26q%3Dwiki+moon

This page makes the claim "Domain not found".  Are you seriously trying to tell me that the domain www.google.com was not found?  This is a ridiculous lie and just a a cheap trick to steal traffic and redirect it to your own search engine.  Your search engine doesn't have the page I wanted as the first result, and doesn't redirect me to the first result as I wanted.  You are stealing the functionality of my browsers and the functionality of the Google server and replacing it with a sub-par service.  Do you honestly think your assisting me?  Maybe if I really wanted to go to the domain wikimoon.com this service might be wanted, but no I did not want that, my browser was handling the redirection from "wiki moon" to google.com the way I wanted it to, and you stepped in and interrupted that process.

This page does interestingly enough have a preferences page, where you can supposedly opt out of this 'service'.  However, when I choose to disable the Web Address Error Redirect Service, and then save my settings, returning to the page shows no setting for that service while the other two display "Disabled" in bold lettering.  Apparently the preference system for this link hijacking is broken, because it still hijacks my links to Google.

I'm a tech savy Internet user, I took computer science in college and I develop web pages for a living, so don't try to lie to me and say this is a mistake.  This service is actively identifying google search result pages that look like this:
http://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=navclient&gfns=1&q=
And hijacking them to assist.mediacomcable.com, I set that domain name to 127.0.0.1 in my hosts file so I wouldn't have to see it every time I typed a search in my navigation bar.  And I can see the link redirection in the source code now.

<HTML>
<script>window.location='http://assist.mediacomcable.com/mediacomassist/dnsassist/main/?domain='+escape(window.location);</script>
<body>The Search Guide redirection service has been enabled to provide helpful searches from browser queries. You entered a non-existent url and your browser attempted to redirect you with Javascript. To enable this please update your browser preferences. <a href='http://search.mediacomcable.com/prefs.php'>To turn off this feature please click this here</a>
</body>
</HTML>

This is a horrible business practice.  An ISP should provide an Internet connection, they should not attempt to filter my traffic requests and change my destination to their own servers.  You need to fix your preferences page so that it works correctly.  And I highly recommend making the service opt-in rather than opt-out.

Fortunately, my knowledge has led me to a way to work around this problem.  But it still doesn't remove my anger that a company would sink this low to fraud their customers by filtering their Internet connection and hijacking specific destinations.

MediacomSarah

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Re: Mediacom is hijacking my URL requests!!!
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2011, 05:51:47 PM »
I apologize that you feel we are doing you a disservice by providing the redirect page for pages not found when typed into the address bar. I have provided the following information for any other customer looking to this thread for help with the page. You can also find this by clicking, "Why am I here" in the top right corner of the screen.

Why am I here?
The Mediacom redirection service has been enabled to provide helpful searches from web address errors. You entered an unknown name that the Mediacom service used to present site suggestions which you may find useful. Clicking any of these suggestions provides you with Yahoo! search results, which may include relevant sponsored links.

Why should I use The Mediacom redirect service?
The Mediacom redirect service makes finding websites easier and more convenient. The service uses the entered non-existing website name to determine useful search results. Often, you will see a desired website or page that meets your needs.

Does Mediacom track my Internet usage?
No. The Mediacom redirect service simply redirects queries to non-existing domain names to a useful search results page instead of a cryptic error message page or browser-defined page.

What is DNS?
DNS is an acronym for the Internet's Domain Name System. The DNS is primarily used to map Internet computer addresses to domain names such as 'www.yahoo.com.' For more information, please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domain_name_system

How do I opt-out of the name redirect service?
If this service is not right for you, please visit your Preferences page to opt out. At any point in time, you can opt back in to the service by visiting your Preferences page.

2ndirritatedcustomer

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Re: Mediacom is hijacking my URL requests!!!
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2011, 11:59:41 PM »
I am also experiencing the same problem.  What is going on?
« Last Edit: January 30, 2011, 12:03:51 AM by 2ndirritatedcustomer »

jnewman

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Re: Mediacom is hijacking my URL requests!!!
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2011, 12:07:29 AM »
LOL maybe the chinese own mediacom and that's why it redirects you. Then again maybe mediacom knows what you need more than you do.... At any rate I would notify google about this shady practice.....

Psyfer9983

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Re: Mediacom is hijacking my URL requests!!!
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2011, 12:57:03 AM »
I am also getting this, I live in IL. This is nonsense!!! In my firefox browser you can clearly, AND I DO MEAN CLEARLY, see that the google searchs gets redirected to mediacom. You type your keyword or words in the firefox address bar, firefox runs to google and searches, then I can see the url for the google search and then gets redirected to assist.mediacom.com. THIS HAS TO STOP!!! Its very annoying. I have read tons of forums on this problem and I agree that this is a method of hijacking url requests. So far I only get this when typing a keyword or words in the address bar. This is happening on all my PCs on my network, 5 total, and 2 of the PCs are clean installs of Windows 7. So its not a virus or malware or anything similar. I know its not google. I have taken my laptop which does this crap and took it to my friends house. It does not redirect to assist.mediacom.com, he has DSL through Clearwave. I also don't get this when I tether through my phones 3G which is Verizon. So its clear to me that it is mediacom at fault.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2011, 01:04:19 AM by Psyfer9983 »

MediacomBill

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Re: Mediacom is hijacking my URL requests!!!
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2011, 09:01:43 AM »
Please send me your account info via personal message. To do so simply click on the "voice bubble" beneath my name on the left side of this post.

MediacomChrisL

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Re: Mediacom is hijacking my URL requests!!!
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2011, 02:41:51 PM »
All,

   we are now doing retesting of this and need some fresh examples. If any of your could please recreate this redirect and please PM me your Account#, Name on the account & Telephone# it would be a lot of help.

Thanks
Chris

MediacomBryan

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Re: Mediacom is hijacking my URL requests!!!
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2011, 09:10:21 AM »
All--we discovered one additional problem yesterday which has now been resolved. Anyone further experiencing issues may need to opt back in and then opt out again to resolve all issues. Afterwards, please clear your cookies, cache, and flush your dns cache (done at the command prompt by typing "ipconfig /flushdns"). You will likely also need to restart your router to clear any cache tables there we well.

Thanks
Bryan

j.simmons

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Re: Mediacom is hijacking my URL requests!!!
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2011, 10:13:00 PM »
"How do I opt-out of the name redirect service?
If this service is not right for you, please visit your Preferences page to opt out. At any point in time, you can opt back in to the service by visiting your Preferences page."

Exactly where is the preference page to opt-in or opt-out?

MediacomDan

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Re: Mediacom is hijacking my URL requests!!!
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2011, 06:58:54 AM »
If you visit the Internet Options and go to the search section on the General tab, you can opt out from there.  Just default the search to which search engine you prefer.  Another way to do this is to go into the comand prompt and type in "ipconfig/flushdns" as Bryan stated in the earlier post.  You must be the administrator on you computer to do these options.

Riverpilot

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Re: Mediacom is hijacking my URL requests!!!
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2011, 07:34:26 PM »
I've tried all the above. Opted in and out numerous times.. I'm still getting mediacoms search page. Any updates with when this will be fixed?

MediacomTom

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Re: Mediacom is hijacking my URL requests!!!
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2011, 08:28:51 PM »
I will try to bring this up to someone in the next business day. I have not heard anything else since the last known problem with this was resolved.

dj5

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Re: Mediacom is hijacking my URL requests!!!
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2011, 07:50:42 AM »
Could you provide a link where I can opt-out of the redirect service.

There is nothing on the on the mediacomtoday.com website to opt-out.

MediacomBill

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Re: Mediacom is hijacking my URL requests!!!
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2011, 08:15:12 AM »
I have heard there is a link there but like yourself, I can't find it either.

Are you using Internet Explorer or some other browser?

If you are using Internet Explorer you can click on Tools, then in the drop down menu select internet options.

On the the General tab go to the 3rd option from top which is  Search and click on settings.

This will open a new box. Highlight and remove Live Search.

Then press OK.

Restart your computer.

This will remove it.

Let me know if you use a different browser.

Riverpilot

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Re: Mediacom is hijacking my URL requests!!!
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2011, 11:27:25 AM »
Mine is still doing the same thing. Have opted in and out numerous times, to no avail. Waiting word from whatever techs are supposedly working to solve this problem.

I haven't used IE in years, myself. It's either firefox or google chrome.

MediacomBill

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Re: Mediacom is hijacking my URL requests!!!
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2011, 12:09:17 PM »
Riverpilot I will check on your issue with this, I thought yours was resolved. Sorry

Riverpilot

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Re: Mediacom is hijacking my URL requests!!!
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2011, 02:24:49 PM »
I tried opting out again, and it seems this time it stuck. I know I just tried a day or two ago and it wasn't working... perhaps it's been solved. :)

I'll let you know if things revert back again.

MediacomTom

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Re: Mediacom is hijacking my URL requests!!!
« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2011, 02:29:37 PM »
Thank you for keeping us updated. It shouldn't revert back unless you go back and change settings if it did stop at this point.

Riverpilot

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Re: Mediacom is hijacking my URL requests!!!
« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2011, 03:45:28 PM »
I spoke to soon. It reverted back to hijacking. No clue what's going on.

MediacomTom

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Re: Mediacom is hijacking my URL requests!!!
« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2011, 04:08:12 PM »
I will bring this up again this week with a Supervisor and see if something has changed. Currently at this time we have no other reports that this is still a wide spread issue with multiple customers.