Verisign Hijacks Internet
2003-09-19 23:47:23 UTC
(With thanks to Robert Hayden for the title of this post.)
Via the Fishbowl comes breathtakingly evil news: Verisign is redirecting all DNS queries to unregistered .com and .net addresses to a page of their own. There's an announcement on the NANOG mailing list.
A few obvious ways in which this is evil:
- It's primarily a vehicle for Verisign's advertising, which is somewhat odious.
- It prevents software developers from implementing their own ways of helping their users when they mis-type an address. My favourite web browser, Galeon, pops up a simple alert window if a domain name can't be found. Internet Explorer, more notably, directs you to an MSN search page when a domain can't be found. But software developers no longer have control over that, because instead of being told that a domain name doesn't exist, the browser is now told that Verisign's site has that domain name.
- It will make it harder to debug software problems. For internet applications other than the Web and SMTP, the machine which all these mis-typed addresses will point to will simply refuse connections. But a refused connection is a very different thing from a non-existent domain error. When you're debugging a system, you want to be given as much information as possible, and you want to know whether your system isn't working because the remote system is not responding or because you've got the address wrong.
There are more reasons why this is bad, of course. This is just off the top of my head.