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Forum blocked by PlusNet as a result of other forum flagged by IWF

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Solved Forum blocked by PlusNet as a result of other forum flagged by IWF

Post by zaphod99 on March 31st 2012, 10:36 am

I am fighting an uphill battle with my ISP, PlusNet (UK based) who are blocking our forum because another forumotion forum using the same IP address has allegedly been flagged up by the IWF (www.iwf.org.uk, anti-child-porn). This affects any UK user using PlusNet (and possibly BT as well, for PlusNet are a BT subsidiary these days).

I KNOW it 's not a problem with our forum and PlusNet and the IWF both admit as much, they confirmed that our site has never been on their watch list since it began in 1996. I can still get to the forum via an anonymizer proxy or work VPN.

Rather unhelpful suggestions such as "change your ISP" and "move your forum to somewhere which does not sanction such material" are all I've had so far. Say we do move elsewhere - what's to say PlusNet don't take a dislike to something else hosted at that place? Not to mention the disruption to nearly 1,000 members whilst moving.

Part of the problem is that PlusNet are incompetent, their "transparent" filtering proxy (which I knew nothing about until this episode) is supposed to redirect to a page indicating that there is a problem. In fact the experience is a long delay then a page load timeout. In any case IWF good practice guidelines say that they are supposed to filter by URL not IP, but they choose to ignore that. PlusNet have a dim view of forumotion claiming that security is poor.

The problem SHOULD go away if the material is taken down, problem is neither of these organisations are prepared to tell me (as a 3rd-party) where it might be. Presumably Forumotion have had notification of this undesirable content and are taking action?

What to do?
Will forumotion investigate?
Can our forum be moved to a different server? I certainly can't move it.

Thanks,
Ed Randall, secretary, Thames Anglers Conservancy
http://t-a-c.actionboard.net/

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Solved Re: Forum blocked by PlusNet as a result of other forum flagged by IWF

Post by Leviosa on April 2nd 2012, 10:21 am

Hello Hello

I don't understand what we are supposed to do now...

They said that one forum with the same IP address has a bad content, but which forum ? They can't tell you ? scratch

Don't know why they have a bad opinion of Forumotion because our security system is really efficient.

If you know what we can do to solve the issue, please tell me salut
But as they are the ones who block the access, I don't see how we can intervene


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Solved Re: Forum blocked by PlusNet as a result of other forum flagged by IWF

Post by batfield on April 2nd 2012, 12:55 pm

Another forum as an example:

chesilbeach.forumotion.net

this is simply a forum for sea anglers yet also is blocked by Plusnet due to having the same IP.

I checked to see which forums are hosted on this IP and got:

Get All Sites On Same Ip Address 67.228.47.100
amount: 38
hifi4sale.net whois Hi-Fi 4 Sale - Malaysia & International Audio Marketplace, Ads & Forum
allstoxforum.niceboard.com whois ALLSTOX FANS FORUM
insiderbets.forumotion.net whois Forum : Insider Bets : Livescores : Fixed Odds :
hooptowngtaforums.forumotion.com whois HooptownGTA Forums
klsforums.forumotion.com whois Free forum : Korean Lost Saga English Group
amos-cabal.darkbb.com whois Cabal Extreme by Server Extreme 2nd website - Portal
uwcrew.forumotion.com whois The Guild With No [NAME]
builtnotbought.forumotion.com whois Free forum : Built Not Bought
thanetclassics.all-forum.net whois Thanet Classics Car Club, Kent
sfsforum.forumotion.com whois Free forum : SFS Scrap & Chat
apworldghs.worldgoo.com whois Free forum : AP World History
easelandink.com whois
tenerifesforumoffun.com whois Tenerife's Forum of Fun
pokespeanime.forumotion.com whois PokeSpeAni Forums
armwrestling.forummotion.com whois Free forum : Rossendale Armwrestling
nmeclan.forumotion.com whois Free forum : Enemy
everydayfreesamples.com whois http://www.everydayfreesamples.com/
pinoyzone.hightoxic.com whois PINOY ZONE COMMUNITY
forum.kimballgroup.com whois Kimball Forum
morethanchessagame.forumotion.com whois Free forum : chessforyou
yamaha-thundercats.org whois Yamaha-Thundercats - Portal*
worg-ridersof.org whois Free forum : Worg Riders of Orgrimmar
oscarjackstattooparlour.com whois Oscar Jack's Tattoo Parlour - Home
epicclan.forummotion.com whois Free forum : Epic Ideas & Dreams
tasly.board-poster.com whois Tasly Forum
themistsofavalon.net whois
gothicpassion.unlimitboard.com whois Foro gratis : ~ Goobye To Your Sanity: Chocolate v - Hungry for You
r1150r.forumactif.com whois R1150R R1100R R850R R1200R Roadsters flat-twin BMW
3eoon.onlinegoo.com whois منتديات عيون اون لاين ترحب بكم Eyes ...
bebe-nature.forumactif.com whois Bébé nature, la naissance respectée - Portail
varmoto.com whois Moto roulage balade et sorties piste dans le var
gamopat-forum.com whois GAMOPAT : LE FORUM DES MALADES COLLECTIONNEURS DE
forum-mdp.com whois Forum de discussion Montres de Plongée - Portail
myegyy2.yoo7.com whois MyEgy2 - افلام عربى - افلام اجنبى - اغانى ...
fcbplanet.com whois Foro gratis : F.C.B.PLANET
lemanoirdellowyne.com whois Le Manoir d'Ellowyne Wilde - Portail
forumbricabrac.com whois Le Bric-À-Brac
cloclowebforum.forumactif.com whois www.ClaudeFrançois.info - Le forum

maybe you could contact Plusnet to see which is the offending forum and remove it? I am sure that the original poster would be happy to supply the correct contact details.

Hope this helps.

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Solved Re: Forum blocked by PlusNet as a result of other forum flagged by IWF

Post by Leviosa on April 2nd 2012, 3:56 pm

Hello,

Yes, I'll be OK to contact PlusNet and I'll try to do so.

But it's absolutely illogical and unfair to simply block the access and pretend that one of our forums is in cause, without trying to contact us.
Our services are safe and our Terms of Service are very clear about illegal content, we'll never accept any infraction on this.

This blocking is unfair for users too and we'll do our best to have a response from PlusNet.

Thanks !


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Solved Re: Forum blocked by PlusNet as a result of other forum flagged by IWF

Post by Darren1 on April 2nd 2012, 4:58 pm

Leeloo, I believe that it is only blocked on PN's side as BT's open network (BTFON), which I assume would have harsher filter's do not block it, and PN gets it's Internet off of them.
Works quite similar as the cloud based network in Paris by terms of filter & connecting.

Chris also attempted to do so in the past, and I don't think he got very far, even though he was the head of legal. Don't know much about the issue back then.

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Solved Re: Forum blocked by PlusNet as a result of other forum flagged by IWF

Post by zaphod99 on April 3rd 2012, 9:49 am

Hi all, (sorry for the delay replying)

Here are the support messages between me and PlusNet; I don't have any email addresses for PlusNet support people as all support is via a form their website, but the question number may be useful:

Question #53786157 - Your Feedback
Your Response
9:11am, Thursday 29 Mar 2012
I am unable to access the Thames Anglers Conservancy forum, I keep getting a network timeout. This occurs on multiple browsers and on two different machines. http://t-a-c.actionboard.net/

However the site is UP as other members are able to access it just fine. I can also access it via my work network.
Are plusnet doing something / filtering my broadband / again?
Axxxxx Bxxxxx - IE - Generic
3:23pm, Thursday 29 Mar 2012
Dear Mr Randall,
The board is hosted through http://www.forumotion.com/, which is flagged on our IWF caches (http://www.iwf.org.uk/). Although we appreciate the t-a-c forum in question is likely innocent of any wrongdoing, installations on this server have repeatedly caused alerts to the extent we feel the security of content is not admirable and thus it is agreed at this stage that filtering should continue.
Your Response
7:53am, Friday 30 Mar 2012
That's fine, but in that case your system is failing to follow IWF good practice gudelines.
http://www.iwf.org.uk/services/blocking/blocking-good-practice
If our forum were fould of the block list we should see 403 access denied.
We do not get this, we get a long wait then a timeout, indicating a defect somewhere in the implementation or operation of your filter.
At one point yesterday things worked properly now they have broken again and we get the timeout.
Sure it's not ideal where we are hosted but you are supposed to block by URL, not IP. I don't deny that your filtering should continue but I do think that it is quite clear that your implementation is defective.
To expect us to move the entire site which could take several weeks work and incur additional costs to a club running on voluntary donations, when access is being blocked by a defect in plusnet's system, which incidentally is a service I am paying for.

Your Response
9:14am, Friday 30 Mar 2012
If the page is blocked your system is supposed to work as described in paragraph 4 here:
http://www.plus.net/support/security/abuse/iwffaq.shtml
The user should be redirected to this page:
http://www.plus.net/support/security/abuse/blocked.shtml

That is not our experience, we are receiving a timeout. The system is defective.
Jxxxx Sxxxxxxxxx - CSC Analyst
11:09am, Friday 30 Mar 2012
Dear Mr Randall,
Our apologies if it does not seem as though the site is being blocked in the way you should expect, but unfortunately this does not alter the fact that it has and is blocked. Our networks team have confirmed that this ban will not be lifted and will remain banned for the foreseeable future. Our apologies for this inconvenience.

Please do not hesitate to get back in touch online at http://contactus.plus.net or by phone on 0800 432 0200 or 0345 140 0200 if we can be of further assistance.
Your Response
2:07pm, Friday 30 Mar 2012
Dear PlusNet,
Please see the reply from the IWF, hopefully they will be in contact with you soon as our site is not on a block list and has never been since 1996. Your network team need to investigate this defect in your blocking system as a matter of urgency please. Please will you arrange for a senior manager to call me to speak about this further, my mobile number is 079xx xxx xxx.

See below response from IWF.
Thankyou
Ed Randall.

Dear Ed,
I am sorry to hear that you are unable to access the below mentioned website.

IWF does not itself block websites but does provide a list of URLs for member organisations to facilitate URL blocking (not IP address or domain level blocking) ensuring that only the exact URLs containing the potentially illegal content is blocked. Please bear in mind that the blocking solutions are owned and operated by the IWF URL licensees and are not under the direct control of the IWF. Please can I direct you to the IWF website page http://www.iwf.org.uk/services/blocking that explains more regarding the IWF URL list.

The IWF has never actioned as potentially criminal the below website in the time we have been operating (since 1996) and therefore would never have been in a position to report your site to any other organisation. I have browsed/accessed the below site without a problem within the guest areas.

I would suggest you follow it up with Plusnet as it may be an issue in their network. However I will also liaise with our contacts at Plusnet to look into this as a matter of urgency.

I hope this has helped however please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any further questions.
Regards,
Bxxx Jxxxxx
Acting Hotline Manager
www.iwf.org.uk
Rxxxxx Sxxxxx - CSC Analyst
2:58am, Saturday 31 Mar 2012
Dear Mr Randall,
Thank you for getting back to us.

I will arrange to send your response to the networks team to look into again.

Regrettably at this time of the morning i will be unable to liaise with a manager. Our networks team will respond to this information, but i would advise if you wanted to speak to a manager you call the number below, explain the issue to the agent at which point a manager call back can be organised at a time to suit you.
Jxxx Hxxx - CSC Analyst
12:52pm, Saturday 31 Mar 2012
Dear Mr Randall,
Thank you for getting back to us.

I am sorry this issue is continuing. I am passing this query back to our networks team for further investigation.

Please do not hesitate to get back in touch online at https://portal.plus.net/wizard/?p=search if we can be of any further assistance.

Kind regards,

Josh Hill

**INTERNAL**

Customer has contact IWF who have said they only list potential sites by URL, not ip or domain level blocking and they have never listed this site. Could further investigation be done on this matter please, or further clarification for the customer.
Axxxx Bxxxxx - IE - Generic
10:57am, Monday 2 Apr 2012
Dear Mr Randall,
I've escalated the matter to a senior colleague on our security team to re-review.

The next action on your Help Assistant Question is due on Tuesday 3rd April at 7:00am. This Question will remain open with the IE - Generic until this time.
As you can see I made a bit of progress by raising a complaint with the IWF and have to say that the manager from there was extremely helpful. They then offered to take the matter up directly with PlusNet which I accepted and seemed to be making headway but at the end of yesterday they came back with:
After working with my Plsunet contact, it has been found that there was an offending forum on the IWF list which was hosted on the same server IP as your forum. And the reason for issues with your forum they have suggested is that may be due to an automatic DOS protection applied at the target host due to volume of user traffic from a single IP.

You may wish to contact your forum host regarding this.

I hope this has helped but feel free to contact me in case of a further query.

Regards,
Bxxx
Now I don't know what's changed but this morning I am a very happy bunny as the access block to our forum via Plusnet seems to have been cleared! Smile It is working again! I have had a reply to my support question from them but *irony* it seems I can't get to their own support site, it is just timing out... - perhaps they have blocked themselves!!!

Obviously I'm continuously monitoring the situation but for now, all good...
Ed



Last edited by zaphod99 on April 3rd 2012, 10:02 am; edited 3 times in total

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Solved Re: Forum blocked by PlusNet as a result of other forum flagged by IWF

Post by Leviosa on April 3rd 2012, 9:58 am

Hello Very Happy

Great news !

I'm happy to know that.

On my side I'm gonna check this list of forums to see if there's nothing illegal which can block the access as they told you.

Thanks a lot


Last edited by Leeloo on April 3rd 2012, 11:09 am; edited 1 time in total

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Solved Re: Forum blocked by PlusNet as a result of other forum flagged by IWF

Post by zaphod99 on April 3rd 2012, 10:08 am

You could try contacting the IWF complaints@iwf.org.uk and ask them to confirm or deny whether any of those sites listed are on their list, that would give you somewhere to start. I have an email address directly for the person with whom I was dealing, I will ask if it's ok to give it to you.

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Solved Re: Forum blocked by PlusNet as a result of other forum flagged by IWF

Post by Leviosa on April 3rd 2012, 11:15 am

OK thank you very much.

As it's now handled by PM, I mark this topic as solved and move it.

Topic Solved & Locked

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