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Message 31 of 45 (268 Views)

Re: Virgin Media is blocking and interfering with traffic to certain sites

[ Edited ]

Let's start off by explaining that I don't work for Virgin Media so I aim to be totally impartial in my assessments.  Where Virgin Media are definitely in the wrong I will happily point it out.  I've raised the profile of routeing and email issues before now.

But I like to lay the blame fairly where it lies based on my understanding of the internet and I've done a great deal if digging, so while I'm not IT qualified, I do know what I'm talking about.

I have my own IIS web server running with a 303 redirect so that I always get served the https version of my site.  So I have some understanding of HTTP and where the error codes come from.  And here's the thing.  They come from the server you are trying to connect to.

So what do you expect the Virgin Network engineers to do given the information provided?

I'll tell you what I expect - nothing.  The packets reach the place they're supposed to be reaching, the server sends back a response and the response is reaching you, from Virgin Media's point of view there is nothing to troubleshoot.  From OMSC's point of view. there is everything to troubleshoot because some of the redirects that should be happening aren't.  

If Virgin Media were indeed blocking the site, then it's a damn sloppy one, as Virgin Media know how to do blocks.  Try and get to any of the sites blocked by court order and you will see in no uncertain terms that they are blocked.  Some "deliberate blocks" aren't deliberate at all but in fact. are routeing errors, but other deliberate blocks are often found to be down to the receiving end.

AFAICT this is not a deliberate block on anyone's part but it does need investigating properly by the right people, and the right people to investigate are OMSC.

If you'd like I can come into the thread in question and post these thoughts there as well as my supporting evidence.

Tim

Edit BTW we've so far only discussed OSMC - we need to look at regex magic as well.

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Message 32 of 45 (256 Views)

Re: Virgin Media is blocking and interfering with traffic to certain sites


ravenstar68 wrote:

 

If you'd like I can come into the thread in question and post these thoughts there as well as my supporting evidence.

Tim


Thanks Tim, that would be appreciated. An extra (informed) voice may help in persuading them to take the matter seriously.

The reasons I still believe that Virgin Media must be at least playing a factor, however, are:

  • so far we only know of VM customers encountering the problem.
  • some people (including other VM customers) are getting a valid response back from the server while others, like me, are not.
  • when the issue is encountered, like in my case, it is 100% reproducible -- even while at the same time others are getting a valid response from the server.
  • it's not a software issue on the client end as it can be reproduced with a variety of operating systems, browsers, and computers.
  • the only real differences between it working for some and not for others, must surely be the IP address of the originating connection, the route that the traffic is taking there and back, and what the routers along the way are doing with the traffic such that a valid reply manages to get back for some people, and an invalid reply every time for customers like me.
  • when a VPN is used to alter the route that the traffic needs to take, the problem can be successfully circumvented, and a valid response that the server is generating can be successfully received.
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Message 33 of 45 (256 Views)

Re: Virgin Media is blocking and interfering with traffic to certain sites


ravenstar68 wrote:

 

Edit BTW we've so far only discussed OSMC - we need to look at regex magic as well.


The issue with RegexMagic started about 2 or 3 days ago. And in the early hours of this morning I did some more experimentation with it, while toggling the state of the VPN and confirming each time that the VPN allowed it to work. But as of about an hour ago, even when I disconnect from the VPN I'm now able to connect. So I don't want to speak too soon, but it looks like that particular issue may have resolved itself somehow. I'll keep an eye on it over the coming days to check whether it's a recurrent issue...

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Message 34 of 45 (252 Views)

Re: Virgin Media is blocking and interfering with traffic to certain sites

Be wary of confirmation bias,

Sometimes you can get your head so firmly fixed onto the apparent cause of a problem, that it's easy to put 2 +2 = 5 and everything else you see will reinforce the answer even though it is still wrong.

The reason I turned web safe back on on my system was because I know there have been instances where it does interfere, but usually, you actually see the DNS address directed to the web safe platform, which does then sometimes act as a proxy for some traffic, but it's far from transparent when this happens.

Now if I'd have gotten the problem when I turned websafe on, I would have been the first to cry foul at Virgin Media.

While I appreciate it would be disruptive to your network putting the hub into router mode for one test may actually be very informative.  At most I estimate it would take about 15 minutes to find out if the redirects still fail and then slap the hub back into modem mode.

On the other hand, if the redirect still fails it's still no guarantee that it's Virgin Media doing the blocking.

Tim

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Message 35 of 45 (235 Views)

Re: Virgin Media is blocking and interfering with traffic to certain sites


ravenstar68 wrote:

Be wary of confirmation bias,

Sometimes you can get your head so firmly fixed onto the apparent cause of a problem, that it's easy to put 2 +2 = 5 and everything else you see will reinforce the answer even though it is still wrong.


I actually thought my 6 bullets points 2 posts back formed a structured, factual, carefully thought out analysis of the possible problem. Exactly the opposite of confirmation bias. While formulating those points I was trying to think of what we would see as an opposite result if it was definitely the server that was responsible.

Are there some logical fallacies in those 6 bullet points of mine?

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Message 36 of 45 (223 Views)

Re: Virgin Media is blocking and interfering with traffic to certain sites


grindax wrote:


Thanks Tim, that would be appreciated. An extra (informed) voice may help in persuading them to take the matter seriously.

The reasons I still believe that Virgin Media must be at least playing a factor, however, are:

  • so far we only know of VM customers encountering the problem.
    Which doesn't mean there aren't others, how many people are in that thread?
  • some people (including other VM customers) are getting a valid response back from the server while others, like me, are not.
    true and the fact that other VM customers are getting connected would actually disprove your hypothesis.
  • when the issue is encountered, like in my case, it is 100% reproducible -- even while at the same time others are getting a valid response from the server.
    It's 100% reproducible by sufferers, but not 100% reproducible by everyone.  If it were I wouldn't be getting through, neither would Cybmole.
  • it's not a software issue on the client end as it can be reproduced with a variety of operating systems, browsers, and computers.
    Agreed on this point.
  • the only real differences between it working for some and not for others, must surely be the IP address of the originating connection, the route that the traffic is taking there and back, and what the routers along the way are doing with the traffic such that a valid reply manages to get back for some people, and an invalid reply every time for customers like me.
    Post a traceroute and lets have a look.
  • when a VPN is used to alter the route that the traffic needs to take, the problem can be successfully circumvented, and a valid response that the server is generating can be successfully received.
    Which goes back to your earlier point about the IP address being different.  Remember that when you are connecting to VPN the server sees the address of the VPN as the source of the request, not your public IP.

Here's my tracert - note that as they both go to the same IP you can trace either apt.osmc.tv or osmc.tv

C:\Users\timdu>tracert apt.osmc.tv

Tracing route to apt.osmc.tv [159.253.212.250]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

  1     4 ms     2 ms     1 ms  192.168.0.1
  2     *        *        *     Request timed out.
  3    17 ms    15 ms    12 ms  perr-core-2b-xe-112-0.network.virginmedia.net [62.255.32.241]
  4     *        *        *     Request timed out.
  5     *        *        *     Request timed out.
  6     *        *        *     Request timed out.
  7    18 ms    22 ms    18 ms  eislou2-ic-2-ae0-0.network.virginmedia.net [62.254.84.62]
  8     *        *        *     Request timed out.
  9    25 ms    23 ms    26 ms  37.220.95.73.srvlist.ukfast.net [37.220.95.73]
 10    27 ms    27 ms    25 ms  s2.stmlabs.com [159.253.212.250]

Trace complete.

@cybmole - scan harder next time Smiley Very Happy lol

Tim

 

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Message 37 of 45 (200 Views)

Re: Virgin Media is blocking and interfering with traffic to certain sites


ravenstar68 wrote:

grindax wrote:


Thanks Tim, that would be appreciated. An extra (informed) voice may help in persuading them to take the matter seriously.

The reasons I still believe that Virgin Media must be at least playing a factor, however, are:

  • so far we only know of VM customers encountering the problem.
    Which doesn't mean there aren't others, how many people are in that thread?

Of course there may be others, but we can only work with the information we have. "So far" means we don't yet know of others from other ISPs. Nobody from another ISP has reported the same problem yet. So although the number of people who have spoken up is low, *so far* it is true that it's only VM customers that are affected.

  • some people (including other VM customers) are getting a valid response back from the server while others, like me, are not.
    true and the fact that other VM customers are getting connected would actually disprove your hypothesis.

Not at all. My hypothesis is that a localized part of VM's infrastructure is affected, which is why I've specifically stated that previously. Only *part* of their customer base is affected. Others get a good, valid response from the server. So this point actually supports my hypothesis.

  • when the issue is encountered, like in my case, it is 100% reproducible -- even while at the same time others are getting a valid response from the server.
    It's 100% reproducible by sufferers, but not 100% reproducible by everyone.  If it were I wouldn't be getting through, neither would Cybmole.

Again, as per my previous point, the issue is affecting certain users in a localized way, in certain parts of VM's infrastructure. If it was a server issue, it would be more likely to be affecting everybody.

  • it's not a software issue on the client end as it can be reproduced with a variety of operating systems, browsers, and computers.
    Agreed on this point.
  • the only real differences between it working for some and not for others, must surely be the IP address of the originating connection, the route that the traffic is taking there and back, and what the routers along the way are doing with the traffic such that a valid reply manages to get back for some people, and an invalid reply every time for customers like me.
    Post a traceroute and lets have a look.
  • when a VPN is used to alter the route that the traffic needs to take, the problem can be successfully circumvented, and a valid response that the server is generating can be successfully received.
    Which goes back to your earlier point about the IP address being different.  Remember that when you are connecting to VPN the server sees the address of the VPN as the source of the request, not your public IP. 

Exactly. When we change the source IP address and the routing of the traffic, the problem is solved. The response from the server is valid and is getting back successfully when connecting through a different network path. This also strongly supports my hypothesis that this could be a network issue, not necessarily a server issue.


 

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Message 38 of 45 (193 Views)

Re: Virgin Media is blocking and interfering with traffic to certain sites

The thing is we need to see what happens if you connect using a different IP, ON THE VIRGIN NETWORK - If the issue is indeed caused by a transparent proxy on Virgin's side - then it's possible that you'll see the same behaviour, because your traffic will still be following the same overall path from your area.

Tim

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Message 39 of 45 (149 Views)

Re: Virgin Media is blocking and interfering with traffic to certain sites

Could someone who has this issue try a wget with the --server-response option:

wget --server-response http://apt.osmc.tv

On my VM connection, this returns:

$ wget --server-response http://apt.osmc.tv
--2017-05-19 17:04:03--  http://apt.osmc.tv/
Resolving apt.osmc.tv (apt.osmc.tv)... 159.253.212.250
Connecting to apt.osmc.tv (apt.osmc.tv)|159.253.212.250|:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response...
  HTTP/1.1 302 Found
  Date: Fri, 19 May 2017 16:02:00 GMT
  Server: Varnish
  X-Varnish: 7104501
  Location: http://ftp.fau.de/osmc/osmc/apt/
  Content-Length: 0
  Connection: keep-alive
etc etc

This shows that the "real" apt.osmc.tv uses the Varnish Cache.  If the 500 failure is being returned from some other server software, such as a transparent proxy, that could be significant.

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Message 40 of 45 (130 Views)

Re: Virgin Media is blocking and interfering with traffic to certain sites

This is what I get:

osmc@osmc:~$ wget --server-response http://apt.osmc.tv
converted 'http://apt.osmc.tv' (ANSI_X3.4-1968) -> 'http://apt.osmc.tv' (UTF-8)
--2017-05-19 20:12:46--  http://apt.osmc.tv/
Resolving apt.osmc.tv (apt.osmc.tv)... 159.253.212.250
Connecting to apt.osmc.tv (apt.osmc.tv)|159.253.212.250|:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response...
  HTTP/1.1 500 Internal server error
  Date: Fri, 19 May 2017 19:10:42 GMT
  Server: Varnish
  X-Varnish: 11996610
  Content-Length: 0
  Connection: keep-alive
2017-05-19 20:12:46 ERROR 500: Internal server error.
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