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Communications IT Technology

Comcast's Protected Browsing Is Blocking PayPal, Steam and TorrentFreak, Customers Say (vice.com) 82

Comcast's Xfinity internet customers have been reporting multiple websites, including PayPal, Steam, and TorrentFreak have been getting blocked by the ISP's "protected browsing" setting. From a report: The "protected browsing" setting is designed to "reduce the risk of accessing known sources of malware, spyware, and phishing for all devices connected to your home network." This, in general, isn't a bad thing. It's similar to Google Chrome's security settings that warn you when you have an insecure connection. But it's odd that Xfinity's security setting would be blocking perfectly harmless sites like PayPal. Multiple consumers have been reporting on Comcast's forums and elsewhere that they've been blocked while trying to access sites that many people use every day. After posting about it on the forums, one user who said they couldn't access PayPal said the problem with that particular site had been fixed. Further reading: Comcast's Protected Browsing Blocks TorrentFreak as "Suspicious" Site (TorrentFreak).
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Comcast's Protected Browsing Is Blocking PayPal, Steam and TorrentFreak, Customers Say

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  • Why does the summary suggest this is a good idea? What's good about it exactly?

    • Comcast customers are to stupid to browse the internet on their own.

      • In markets where they have a choice of broadband ISP, sure they're that stupid. Sadly though, not all markets have that choice.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Many of comcast's customers wouldn't be comcast customers if they had another choice, but in many areas your choices are 1. Comcast or 2. No internet.

        • True. I have Comcast, but there are no alternatives for broadband. I generally like my service, just not the 1 terabyte cap that I've gone over the grace twice (you get two free).

        • Iâ(TM)m pretty sure not being able to establish your own broadband connection counts as stupid, typical state depenancy mentality, always someone elses fault.

      • As they are the only* option where I live how does that make me stupid. My apartments lease says no satellites (historic building) and they are the only game in the building. More like shafted than stupid.

        Not counting cellular (more expensive and low data caps) and dial-up are not really options.

    • by Luthair ( 847766 )
      Not really different than 9.9.9.9 which people applauded
  • Do users turn this on, or is it a default setting? I'd be upset if it were forced on people. This sounds like a violation of net neutrality, which is still in place for a while longer.

  • by DaMattster ( 977781 ) on Thursday March 08, 2018 @05:04PM (#56229477)
    This is what happens when you turn to ISPs to solve the problems of the internet; more problems are created. There are plenty of ways to do this for yourself that can be found for a simple Google search. One of the problems with America is that we've stopped using the critical thinking skills that evolution gave us. You need not be a power user to search for solutions. In a former career, I was a System Admin so I simply setup an OpenBSD-based firewall/gateway/proxy out of a spare computer to replace the hunk of garbage my ISP gave me. I've created a list of all of the allowed websites and that's it.
    • There are plenty of ways to do this for yourself that can be found for a simple Google search.

      Why would you google search? There's plenty of ways you can find this solution by yourself. Just ask around for people until you get a somewhat relevant web address and then follow all links you can until you find your comment.

      Ok facetiousness aside, there's a very good reason not to do a lot of this management yourself. It has nothing to do with critical thinking and everything to do with data. Do you single-handedly look at all data coming in and out to determine if it is a virus in the systems you admin?

  • by dkone ( 457398 ) on Thursday March 08, 2018 @05:16PM (#56229569)

    Read about some of the things Paypal does. I don't think I would put them in the harmless category.

  • I've never seen anything like this. Is it some router setting, or do they block it in their network? I use my own router not Comcast's equipment.
  • I've been stuck with Comcast. I've always used my own router, and more recently started using my own cable modem. After bumping into this sort of crap -years- ago, I stopped using their Domain Name Servers, and set my router to use the OpenDNS servers. (Yes, I know they got bought up by an "evil corporate entity", so I'm willing to consider suggestions for new alternatives, but I haven't settled on another, yet.)
    • They're all owned by evil corporate entities. Might as well use google dns, at least it works.

  • by CodeHog ( 666724 ) <joe...slacker@@@gmail...com> on Thursday March 08, 2018 @05:50PM (#56229839) Homepage
    Steam is in nearly constant use in my house and never had an issue accessing PayPal. The price I pay them for access is horrible but in general I don't have Internet access issues through Comcast.
  • From the TorrentFreak article -

    The good news is that the blocking ‘feature’ isn’t mandatory. Subscribers can enable and disable it whenever they please, by changing their network settings [xfinity.com]

    From the link to Xfinity support (emphasis added) -

    Protected Browsing is an opt-in service that Xfinity xFi customers can use to help safeguard their home networks against malicious content. In order to use the feature - which we offer at no additional cost - you must enable it using the Xfinity xFi app.

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