Belkin routers hijacking websurfing

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

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 for a new parental control feature.

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, from Belkin.

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. I’m still curious about the earlier post that suddenly went missing.

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

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, via the usual suspects)