No-IP Takes Stock of Toll on Customers from Microsoft’s Service Takedown
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
What is Dynamic DNS and what can you use it for??
When I tell people what I do for a living, they don’t get it. I mean, they get that I am a marketing manager, but they don’t understand what the company I work for does exactly.
“Oh DNS, yeah no.” I often find myself going into a full blown explanation of DNS only to see their eyes glaze over 30 seconds in.
“Oh, so it’s how the Internet works.”
I chime in and say EXACTLY, but then I continue on to the Dynamic DNS explanation, which is even more coma-inducing.
The easiest explanation I can give is to relate Dynamic DNS to a cell phone. I don’t know anyone’s phone number, I can barely remember my own.
You program your friend’s phone numbers into your phone and you assign their name to that contact. Whenever you want to call “Joe” you just scroll to the contact for Joe and click call. This is so easy, right?
So now we can relate this to Dynamic DNS. What if you didn’t have this easy way to call Joe on your phone, you HAD to remember his phone number? It wouldn’t be too hard, but what if his phone number changed every day or even a few times a day? It would be really hard to remember his phone number. And even if you could remember his phone number, there is no way you could be 100% sure that the number you are calling is right, since it changes so frequently.
This is the problem that Dynamic DNS solves, but instead of on your cell phone, it is for your computer.
If you want to access your computer remotely, or even monitor an IP camera, but you have a Dynamic IP address it can be very difficult.
Wait, let’s back up for a second, what is a Dynamic IP address?
Your IP address is just like your phone number, but it is your computers personal phone number on the internet. It is used by your Internet Service Providers to connect your computer to the Internet. Your computer doesn’t have the same number every day, it has a dynamic IP address, meaning it changes. It could change once a month, once a week, or even a few times a day, but it does change. Dynamic IP addresses are very common since they are cost effective for ISPs.
Since a large majority of people have a Dynamic IP address at home, it can be extremely difficult to always reach your device, because your IP address is always changing. Since you aren’t alerted when it changes, it is very hard to keep track of.
To get around this annoyance, you can use our Dynamic DNS service. Our Dynamic DNS service gives you an easy to remember hostname i.e. yourname.noip.me, (just like when you assign “Joe” to his phone number in your phone) you run a small piece of software on your computer or device you would like to access remotely, and whenever your IP address changes, we update your hostname to reflect that change.
Imagine if your cell phone number did change every day, but your phone knew this and kept track of each person’s phone number, and updated your contact in your phone automatically when a person’s phone number changed. Your connection to your friends would never be lost. This is just like Dynamic DNS, your connection to access your device or computer remotely is never lost.
It’s a long-winded explanation, for a fairly simple service that helps millions of users across the globe stay connected to their devices.
Check out this awesome article to read one customer’s story about how he uses No-IP every day.
Have questions or comments? We love to hear from you, just leave your comments below. As always, please share this on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.
Update: Details on Microsoft Takeover
Earlier today, we released a joint statement with Microsoft announcing the settlement of the unprecedented and overreaching seizure of 23 of our domains. We are thrilled to announce the settlement of this dispute and are excited to return to work connecting our 18 million users to their website and devices.
How did this happen?
On Monday, June 30, 2014, Microsoft obtained a US court order to take control of our most popular domain names used by both our Free and Enhanced Dynamic DNS services. As a result, nearly 5 million hostnames went dark and 1.8 million customer websites and devices became unreachable.
Why did this happen?
Microsoft suspected some of our customers were abusing our service for malicious purposes. However, instead of reporting the malicious activity to our abuse department or law enforcement, Microsoft decided to secretly sue us in civil court.
By filing an ex parte temporary restraining order (TRO), No-IP was prevented from having any knowledge of the case or offering any support in stopping malicious activity. Had Microsoft submitted evidence of abuse at any time, No-IP would have taken swift action to validate the claims and ban any accounts that were proven to be malicious. Instead, Microsoft wasted many months while malicious activity continued.
To state this as emphatically as possible — this entire situation could have been avoided if only Microsoft had followed industry standards. A quick email or call to the No-IP abuse team would have removed the abusive hostnames from the No-IP network.
Microsoft cited 22,000 hostnames that were abusive. Out of those 22,000 seized hostnames, the No-IP abuse department found only a fraction of the hostnames to still be active, which means that many had already been banned through our existing abuse procedures.
Microsoft promised the judge they would only block the hostnames alleged to be malicious and would forward all the remaining traffic for the non-abusive hostnames on to No-IP. This did not happen. The Microsoft DNS servers were misconfigured and failed to respond to our usual volume of billions of queries a day.
On July 1 at 6:00 AM, Microsoft claimed to resolve this error and reported that all domains were fully operational.
As depicted below, their claim was false.
Domains begin to be restored
On July 2, immediately after being contacted by No-IP and its attorneys, Microsoft agreed to contact the domain registries and have them return control of the domains to us before the court ordered them to do so. On that day, 22 of the domains were returned to No-IP. On July 3rd, the last domain was returned as well. Service returned to normal for our users within 24 hours of the domains being pointed back at our nameservers. The delay was due to the time it takes for DNS to propagate worldwide.
While we are extremely pleased with the settlement terms, we are outraged by Microsoft’s tactics and that we were not able to completely and immediately restore services to the majority of our valuable customers that had been affected.
At No-IP, we are firm believers that the Internet should be free and open. We will continue to fight for the rights of our users and our business. Moving forward, we have provisioned a solution that will reduce the risk of domain seizures. We will talk more in-depth about this in the coming days.
A Million…Actually, Many More…Thank Yous
Since 1999, our users have been spreading the word about No-IP and the helpful services that we offer.
From the entire team at No-IP we would like to send a big THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts for supporting us throughout this crazy journey. Thank you for sticking with us, tweeting/commenting your support and pledging your support to us in the future. We wouldn’t be here today without you!
We would also like to give a big shout out to our amazing attorneys; Ron Green, our local counsel, from Randazza Legal Group and Mark Del Bianco, our attorney, from the Law Office of Mark Del Bianco. Thank you so much!
We hope that Microsoft learned a lesson from this debacle and that in the future they will not seize other companies domains and will use appropriate channels to report abuse.
Natalie Goguen • Marketing Manager
Dianne Gleason • Press Representative
Vitalwerks and Microsoft Reach Settlement
On Monday, June 30, Microsoft filed a civil suit in a Nevada federal court to disrupt Bladabindi-Jenxcus, a pervasive family of malware that put millions of customers at risk.
Today, both Microsoft Corporation and Vitalwerks Internet Solutions, LLC announce they have reached a settlement in the matter of Microsoft Corporation v. Mutairi, et al.
Microsoft has reviewed the evidence provided by Vitalwerks and enters into the settlement confident that Vitalwerks was not knowingly involved with the subdomains used to support malware. Those spreading the malware abused Vitalwerks’ services.
Microsoft identified malware that had escaped Vitalwerks’ detection. Upon notification and review of the evidence, Vitalwerks took immediate corrective action allowing Microsoft to identify victims of this malware. The parties have agreed to permanently disable Vitalwerks subdomains used to control the malware.
In the process of redirecting traffic to its servers for malware detection, Microsoft acknowledges that a number of Vitalwerks customers were impacted by service outages as a result of a technical error. Microsoft regrets any inconvenience these customers may have experienced.
Update to Microsoft Takedown – Domains Fully Restored
We would like to give you an update on the Microsoft takedown and announce that ALL of the 23 domains that were seized by Microsoft on June 30 are now back in our control. Please realize that it may take up to 24 hours for the DNS to fully propagate, but everything should be fully functioning within the next day. One of the domains, noip.me, is taking longer to get back online, but it should be fully restored within the next day. Is your service back up? Please send us a tweet and let us know.
We are so sorry for the inconvenience that this takedown has caused our customers. Thank you so much for the support and for sticking with us through the entire process this week. More information surrounding this event will be released within the next few days, so stay tuned.
Again, THANK YOU.