Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Weird Sun Media - York U Internet Problem (Update 2)

Are you at York University right now? Quick, try to connect to,,,, and

Add a comment below (or email if you don't want it to be public) with the following info:
  1. What do you see?
  2. What's your computer, operating system, and browser?
  3. What's your IP address? (fastest way to find it: use Google)
I'll update when I find out more.

Update Dec. 3: The outage is fixed! I got a call from Sun Media's Director of Networks, Telecom, and Information Security. He asked me to send some technical details, and their tech team seems to have solved the problem. It's not clear what happened, but the director mentioned that it might have been in response to hacking attempts, as I suspected. (Meanwhile, the only response I got from York's UIT was to close my support ticket without explanation.)

Update Dec. 1: The outage is real. I can't reach the Sun papers from either of the computers in my office (in the subnet), nor can I reach them when I connect to AirYork. The outage has lasted several days at least. However, the outage is not universal to Sun Media sites (listed here). Only the above five sites are affected.

To be clear, I'm not in my office all day reading Sun newspapers on the web. I'm not exactly in their target demographic. But I think we should all be concerned when there are barriers to information access at a university. More details after the jump.

Interestingly, all five sites resolve to the same IP address: (and as far as I can tell, those are the only sites that map to this IP address). IP addresses are normally associated with individual servers (or groups of linked servers), so the problem likely has to do with handling of requests by that server.

I tried traceroute, which at least established that York is not blocking outbound packets. There are two other possibilities, one that York is blocking inbound packets from, or that is blocking inbound packets from York.

I think the latter explanation is more likely. If I were to speculate, perhaps has detected hacking attempts originating in the York subnet, and blocked access in response (maybe automatically).

I tried to contact York's UIT, but they haven't returned my message. Next step is to contact Sun Media.

1 comment:

Tanya Noel said...

I can't access those sites from campus, either. Is York U too liberal for Sun Media? ;-)