After reading a post on G+ this morning I came to find out that Microsoft served NOIP with a federal order to seize control of 22 of their hosts.
Brief Info on NOIP
If you’re not familiar with NOIP, they’re a DNS service that provides dynamic DNS as well as a number of other DNS services. Their primary free service is dynamic DNS. It allows users which normally have a dynamic IP address to have a domain name which will resolve to that address. Essentially, it allows many home users the ability to have a name that they can type into their browser and reach a server/service at their home. Even if the user’s ISP changes their IP address (which happens for many reasons) the domain name entry will be updated to reflect the new IP.
As you may have guessed this type of service is widely popular now that many people are consuming their own digital content. With the rise of “smart” routers and other connected devices in the home, the need for being able to access them from the Internet has risen. Most routers now include functionality to directly communicate the IP address changes to services like NOIP.
I’ve used their free service for years to be able to get to my personal music server, web cameras, etc. Recently when I brought this website online I moved over to their paid managed DNS service. This allows me to use their name servers to resolve my domain name, itsnotfound.com and have my own dynamic sub domains. For their yearly fee the service really works well.
Let me first point out that I am not one of the many who hates on Microsoft for their success. Don’t number me amongst those who also feel that due to their size and monopolistic nature that Microsoft is a bad guy. I’ll admit that Microsoft has done its fair share of heavy handed tactics and shady doings. What irked me this morning is their seizure of 22 hosts from NOIP.
According to NOIP’s formal response Microsoft served them with a federal order for the domains. Until I saw a post on Google+ I had not heard of any such legal issues with NOIP. Looking up the text of the notice produced no results. In the manner that NOIP provides subdomains it wasn’t 22 entities that were possibly taken offline. Every free user of the service under one of those domains is now under the control of Microsoft. That could potentially be thousands of innocent users. There already appears to be widespread downtime for many of those on the domains affected.
With any service that deals with the lower levels of how the Internet works there is some amount of abuse from people with less than honorable intent. However, I’d like to point out the sheer number of spam emails and other malware that I get that from Microsoft’s one email service. How come no other company in the Internet Police has come and taken down Outlook.com for its contribution to spam and phishing? Now I don’t know to what extent there was malware, spam, or illegal content hosted on the domains that were seized, but it seems like some other action could have been done to prevent the large number of legitimate users from being affected from this action.
It seems as if Microsoft has gone after a problem with a howitzer instead of a scalpel.
NOTE: My domain name is my own property registered with a registrar other than NOIP. My site should not be affected by this issue. Not like that many people are coming here daily for articles anyway…