[Belkin][1] just lost any chance of getting business from me in the future.

[1]: http://www.belkin.com/ “Welcome to Belkin!”

It seems that with the latest firmware update to their routers, they have implemented a “feature” enabling unexpected, intrusive, unwanted advertising. Every eight hours, one http request (the information your browser sends when requesting a particular web page) is [hijacked and redirected to an advertising page][2] for a new parental control feature.

[2]: http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&threadm=3FA87D03.E1C44EDE%40DutchElmSt.invalid&rnum=1&prev=/groups%3Fselm%3D3FA87D03.E1C44EDE%2540DutchElmSt.invalid “news.admin.net-abuse.email: [OT-evil marketing] Belkin does Verislime one better – router spam!”

> After the upgrade, on all our systems (wired or wireless), *valid* http requests are, for certain values of occasionally, redirected to a Belkin ad page!!!!


> […]


> It seems the router now supports a parental control and the market droids at Belkin got the bright idea of equipping the router with intrusive nagware. Of course, I have this strange notion that routers should pass data unmolested by marketeers! There is a “No Thanks” link on the page. Now I have to opt-out from commercials from my router??!!

This behavior was later [confirmed by Eric Deming][3], from Belkin.

[3]: http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&threadm=3FA87D03.E1C44EDE%40DutchElmSt.invalid&rnum=1&prev=/groups%3Fselm%3D3FA87D03.E1C44EDE%2540DutchElmSt.invalid “news.admin.net-abuse.email: Re: [OT-evil marketing] Belkin does Verislime one better – router spam!”

Update: Eric Deming’s post has mysteriously disappeared from Google Groups. Damn, I knew I should have quoted from it as well.

Update 2: There is another post from Eric apologizing and claiming that [there will be a patch soon][4]. I’m still curious about the earlier post that suddenly went missing.

[4]: http://groups.google.com/groups?q=author:ericd%40belkin.com&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&selm=c91e821d.0311072000.4d34a84f%40posting.google.com&rnum=1 “[OT-evil marketing] Belkin does Verislime one better – router spam!”

Update 3: Bingo. One of the posts in the [/. thread][5] about this contains the [full text of Eric’s first message][6].

[5]: http://slashdot.org/articles/03/11/07/1740205.shtml?tid=126&tid=153&tid=95&tid=99 “/.: Belkin Routers Route Users to Censorware Ad”

[6]: http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=85076&cid=7419497 “/.: Re:Usenet thread”

This is nasty. At best, it’s low-down, slimy, intrusive, annoying marketing. At worst, it could cause everything from difficulties with web-based systems (imagine having the redirect kick in in the middle of a transaction on your bank’s website) to possible security holes (such as hackers taking control of the redirect [through affecting the routers, Belkin’s server, or DNS servers in between] and including a trojan or virus in the new target page).

Bye-bye, Belkin.

(via _[The Register][7]_, via the usual suspects)

[7]: http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/69/33858.html “Help! my Belkin router is spamming me”