back to article TalkTalk banbans TeamTeamviewerviewer againagain

TalkTalk customers who need to use a remote desktop tool are on the warpath after the UK ISP blocked TeamViewer for the second time this year, ostensibly in an attempt to protect users from potential scammers. A screenshot seen by The Register showed that teamviewer.com had been blocked as part of TalkTalk's Scam Protect …

  1. djstardust Silver badge

    Hmmmm

    They would do well to spend more time protecting their own computers first before worrying about the ones belonging to their customers.

    As much use as a chocolate Dido.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Hmmmm

      "As much use as a chocolate Dido."

      Much less useful. Chocolate can be eaten.

      1. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: Hmmmm

        "As much use as a chocolate Dido."

        Much less useful. Chocolate can be eaten.

        As can Dido.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Hmmmm

          "As can Dido."

          Um...... no. Ew.

    3. adnim Silver badge

      Re: Hmmmm

      I read dildo

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmmmm

        it's ok, we ALL read dildo...

      3. thegroucho
        Joke

        Re: Hmmmm

        Get your filthy mind out of the gutter so I can put mine in!

      4. Andy The Hat Silver badge

        Re: Hmmmm

        I dunno, at my age a chocolate Dido would suit me ...

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmmmm

        A chocolate dildo? Ewwww...

    4. Cheesemouse

      Re: Hmmmm

      I want to thank you, for giving me the best day of my life.

    5. David 132 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Hmmmm

      Funny story - many years ago my grandmother was reviewing our new house with a critical eye.

      "What this room needs," she said imperiously, "is one of those dildo rails around the walls..."

      She couldn't understand why we were all sniggering fit to burst.

      (she meant, of course, "dado rail", for those who don't get it)

  2. Stuart Halliday

    So, just alter the Port being used? Is this really News?

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Pass me the port

      So, just alter the Port being used? Is this really News?

      On the leftt....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > So, just alter the Port being used? Is this really News?

      That won't work, it's DNS blocked. You have to use a DNS other than TwatTwats.

      Port blocking by ISP's, wow that's so 1990.

    3. MrKrotos
      Stop

      Alter the Port being used?

      Are we talking about teamviewer of the chocolate Dido? :P

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    VPNVPNs?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Begs the question(s) ...

    - what other ISPs are interfering with their customers traffic

    - how ?

    - why ?

    - and what does TalkTalks action in trying to block *one* service/site mean when a customer is scammed by *another* site mean in a court of law ? If they were merely a conduit, they aren't liable. But if they are inspecting traffic and implying it's "safe" ????????

    It was bad enough when Dinky Dave Cameron forced "age blocks"·

    1. The Dogs Meevonks

      Re: Begs the question(s) ...

      Begs the question(s) ...

      - what other ISPs are interfering with their customers traffic

      - how ?

      - why ?"

      I'm pretty certain that Virgin media are throttling any encrypted traffic that goes through a VPN, because I get 1/10th of the rated speeds when using it.

      I've double and triple checked with my VPN provider and they have assured me that no traffic management was being applied to my traffic, they even informed me that at some of the times I've reported bad speeds I was on servers that showed less than 5% load. I also have proof (screenshots) that when I was using Sky Fibre, I was getting about 8/10th of my rated speed, and was in fact throttling my own speeds to avoid swamping my inbound connection.

      VM as usual are of no help, refuse to admit that they are doing this and have so far refused to compensate me for the degradation.

      Currently battling with them to severe my contract over it being a breach of contract so I can feck of somewhere decent instead.

      My experiences with VM have been shocking, from the bodged install where the engineer caused damage to my property, failed to fix and only paid for the damages after months of complaining... to the time when they charged my elderly mum £99 for using 800mb f extra data when their own app told her she needed to turn wifi off to authenticate... and then refused to refund her... End result is the loss of two mobile phone contracts (hers and mine) and as soon as I can get out of my landline/fibre contract I'm leaving... and all because of their nasty immoral and downright insidious business practices.

      VM can go f*ck themselves.

      1. Steve K Silver badge

        Re: Begs the question(s) ...

        You have my sympathy.

        I have a Static IP through them, and the GRE tunnel they use to provide Static IPs offers the same “performance” feature.

        I pay for a 350/20 line and get 20/20 at best.

        From reading on the web you only get decent speeds if you get rid of Static IPs. I need a Static IP and they never mentioned how far below advertised speeds it would be...

      2. Peter 26

        Re: Begs the question(s) ...

        They have been doing this for coming up to 5 years now. Basically they throttle everything except anything they have white listed. I used to be able to get round the throttling of P2P by encrypting the traffic, but when they changed to this method there was no way round it. I switched to slower 75Mb BT Infinity which effectively was faster as it is untouched (other BT packages are throttled). To get untouched traffic with VM they now have the option to pay for the gaming package I believe, it's the most expensive of course.

        The US is wondering what the lack of Net Neutrality leads to, well we already know as it is here in the UK. If you want to have proper Internet access untouched then you have to buy the top *fast* package, which really just means they haven't screwed with it..

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Begs the question(s) ...

          "The US is wondering what the lack of Net Neutrality leads to"

          This (and at least here in the UK you have the option of going to another provider)

          MADISON RIVER: In 2005, North Carolina ISP Madison River Communications blocked the voice-over-internet protocol (VOIP) service Vonage. Vonage filed a complaint with the FCC after receiving a slew of customer complaints. The FCC stepped in to sanction Madison River and prevent further blocking, but it lacks the authority to stop this kind of abuse today.

          COMCAST: In 2005, the nation’s largest ISP, Comcast, began secretly blocking peer-to-peer technologies that its customers were using over its network. Users of services like BitTorrent and Gnutella were unable to connect to these services. 2007 investigations from the Associated Press, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and others confirmed that Comcast was indeed blocking or slowing file-sharing applications without disclosing this fact to its customers.

          TELUS: In 2005, Canada’s second-largest telecommunications company, Telus, began blocking access to a server that hosted a website supporting a labor strike against the company. Researchers at Harvard and the University of Toronto found that this action resulted in Telus blocking an additional 766 unrelated sites.

          AT&T: From 2007–2009, AT&T forced Apple to block Skype and other competing VOIP phone services on the iPhone. The wireless provider wanted to prevent iPhone users from using any application that would allow them to make calls on such “over-the-top” voice services. The Google Voice app received similar treatment from carriers like AT&T when it came on the scene in 2009.

          WINDSTREAM: In 2010, Windstream Communications, a DSL provider with more than 1 million customers at the time, copped to hijacking user-search queries made using the Google toolbar within Firefox. Users who believed they had set the browser to the search engine of their choice were redirected to Windstream’s own search portal and results.

          MetroPCS: In 2011, MetroPCS, at the time one of the top-five U.S. wireless carriers, announced plans to block streaming video over its 4G network from all sources except YouTube. MetroPCS then threw its weight behind Verizon’s court challenge against the FCC’s 2010 open internet ruling, hoping that rejection of the agency’s authority would allow the company to continue its anti-consumer practices.

          PAXFIRE: In 2011, the Electronic Frontier Foundation found that several small ISPs were redirecting search queries via the vendor Paxfire. The ISPs identified in the initial Electronic Frontier Foundation report included Cavalier, Cogent, Frontier, Fuse, DirecPC, RCN and Wide Open West. Paxfire would intercept a person’s search request at Bing and Yahoo and redirect it to another page. By skipping over the search service’s results, the participating ISPs would collect referral fees for delivering users to select websites.

          AT&T, SPRINT and VERIZON: From 2011–2013, AT&T, Sprint and Verizon blocked Google Wallet, a mobile-payment system that competed with a similar service called Isis, which all three companies had a stake in developing.

          VERIZON: In 2012, the FCC caught Verizon Wireless blocking people from using tethering applications on their phones. Verizon had asked Google to remove 11 free tethering applications from the Android marketplace. These applications allowed users to circumvent Verizon’s $20 tethering fee and turn their smartphones into Wi-Fi hot spots. By blocking those applications, Verizon violated a Net Neutrality pledge it made to the FCC as a condition of the 2008 airwaves auction.

          AT&T: In 2012, AT&T announced that it would disable the FaceTime video-calling app on its customers’ iPhones unless they subscribed to a more expensive text-and-voice plan. AT&T had one goal in mind: separating customers from more of their money by blocking alternatives to AT&T’s own products.

          VERIZON: During oral arguments in Verizon v. FCC in 2013, judges asked whether the phone giant would favor some preferred services, content or sites over others if the court overruled the agency’s existing open internet rules. Verizon counsel Helgi Walker had this to say: “I’m authorized to state from my client today that but for these rules we would be exploring those types of arrangements.” Walker’s admission might have gone unnoticed had she not repeated it on at least five separate occasions during arguments.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Begs the question(s) ...

        You'd be right, Virgin have form for blocking and throttling VPN, 'Are you with Virgin Media?' is a standard question whenever we have remote connection problems with our home based workers (and we have thousands)

        A surprisingly large number of them answer yes, weirdly a phone call to Virgin or a move to a new provider usually fixes the problem

    2. Anonymous Noel Coward
      Big Brother

      Re: Begs the question(s) ...

      PlusNet recently (July I believe?) stopped their Deep Packet Inspection system which had been operating for years.

  5. FlamingDeath Bronze badge

    Why do BalkBalk have customers?

    They must be some proper thickos

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Talk-Talk Customers

      Some people are bedazzled by the apparent low cost before suffering their totally crap service.

      Are they thick? Quite possibly but I would never dare say that to their face.

      1. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: Talk-Talk Customers

        Also lots of sales people out on the streets trying to sell Talk Talk, I always enjoy telling them I would not touch TT with a bargepole. Must have seen 5 or 6 campaigns this year on main shopping area of my nearest town alone.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Talk-Talk Customers

          "I always enjoy telling them I would not touch TT with a bargepole."

          I prefer telling them I wouldn't touch TT with someone else's bargepole. Loudly enough that other people can hear it.

          Then again I'm the guy who loudly tells High street chuggers fo fuck off and stop pestering people.

    2. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Why do BalkBalk have customers?

      They must be some proper thickos

      I would never admit to being a TT customer, but due to the fact that my exchange has just BT and TT available, the ISP that I pay money to is actually reselling me TT. So, a customer, though an indirect one.

      Oh, and I get really good service from my ISP despite them having (presumably) to deal with TT on my behalf :-)

      M.

      1. FlamingDeath Bronze badge

        I suspect most TT customers don't read El Reg, so maybe not thick, but potentially indifferent or ignorant

      2. 6491wm

        Reselling TalkTalk

        @Martin an gof

        That's probably because the phone coop (other ISPs who resell TalkTalk services are available, Andrews & Arnold for example) will be dealing with the TalkTalk Business (ie the old Opal & Tiscali Business part of TalkTalk) side of the business rather than TalkTalk Residential.

        1. Alan Edwards
          Coat

          Re: Reselling TalkTalk

          > the phone coop

          Is that like a chicken coop, but for phones? :)

      3. ro55mo

        Is your ISP

        Andrews and Arnold perchance?

    3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Oi! You calling my Mum a thicko? Outside! Now!

      She's got a masters degree and everything.

      Although I admit I did tell her not to sign up with them beforehand, and slightly struggled not to say, "I told you so." Now she's left.

      I think they also do something horrible to VPNs, as she can't get onto the network of the charity she consults for from home. Their IT say it's a common problem with TalkTalk. Though their IT are a bit rubbish, so it could just be not wanting to help.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        I think they also do something horrible to VPNs, as she can't get onto the network of the charity she consults for from home. Their IT say it's a common problem with TalkTalk.

        Not just TalkTalk, Virgin, Sky and probably others.

        Basically, going back a bit, all of the above blocked the standard VPN ports on their home/residential broadband, because if you read the T&Cs the service was not intended for business usage - home working is business usage.

        I don't know about their current policies, but I do know that Demon (before they became Vodafone) didn't block traffic and EE's Home/residential broadband offerings are fully home office compatible.

        I think in the headline rush for speed (and TV), people have overlooked the detail:

        - Are VPNs supported

        - What is the traffic filtering and shaping policy

        - What does unlimited really mean

        - What is the contention ration

        - What is the down/up speed ratio

        - What are the SLA guaranteed down/up speeds

        etc.

        1. Vince

          Utter twaddle. Sky has not, and does not throttle VPN traffic. Or indeed any other traffic.

          1. The Dogs Meevonks

            Up until I left in April, I was on a 40Mb fibre package and could get on average 38Mb of those rated speeds, and throttled my incoming speeds through my VPN to 30Mb to avoid swamping my network and allow me to still do other things.

            They also gave me a 10Mb upload ratio, whilst Virgin give you a pathetic 5Mb... As soon as I can, I'm off... will be giving BT a try next if they offer me a decent price.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re. Why do BalkBalk have customers?

      why are there over 2 billion people on FB?

      why do dogs...?

  6. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Shall we block email too?

    After all it can be used for scams as well.

    Especially since TalkTalk customer data leaks like a sieve so customers can targeted.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Shall we block email too?

      While we are about it, might as well block HTTP/HTTPS, as we know these protocols are also used for scams...

      And just to be safe, perhaps we should add DNS to the list...

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Shall we block email too?

        "And just to be safe, perhaps we should add DNS to the list..."

        ISPs _could_ redirect all port 53 requests to their own servers to prevent people circumventing their blocks. Just be glad they don't (yet).

        1. The Dogs Meevonks

          Re: Shall we block email too?

          "And just to be safe, perhaps we should add DNS to the list..."

          ISPs _could_ redirect all port 53 requests to their own servers to prevent people circumventing their blocks. Just be glad they don't (yet).

          They already do, unless you encrypt traffic.

  7. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Offering easily abuse services, like...

    I'm all for blocking services that are, through poor design, more abused than used. Does anything support scams on massive scales more than a telephone network? Even email's SMTP can be configured to block dirty networks. My phone's ringer is off.

  8. Fred Dibnah

    ArrghArrgh

    Better! than! an! article!about! Yahoo! I! suppose!

    1. Alistair Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: ArrghArrgh

      @Fred:

      "Better!Better! than!than! an!an! article!article! about!about! Yahoo!Yahoo! I!suppose!I!suppose!"

      FTFY.

      (sadly I saw the movie that reminds me of....)

  9. GnuTzu Bronze badge

    Too Bad

    It's too bad that services and tools that allow remote access fail to provide a way for firewall and proxy administrators to limit the remote access feature. Desktop sharing alone isn't so terrible; it's the ability to allow unknown external actors to run roughshod over your binaries that has infosec bods putting a halt to the whole tool.

    It's a similar problem with network storage services like box.com. They lack a way to restrict uploads, even where downloads are not considered too much of a risk.

  10. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    OhBuggerOhBugger!

  11. adam payne Silver badge

    Users who complained to TalkTalk on Twitter were told that the ISP was "filtering a small number of websites that are being used by scammers".

    What's up? more scammers in your call centres?

  12. unwarranted triumphalism

    Not related to NN, no matter how much you want it to be

    Remind me again why an ISP shouldn't be allowed to control what goes through its network.

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: Not related to NN, no matter how much you want it to be

      Because they are selling a service to customers, and what the customer wants should be important.

      They are selling internet access after all, not some curated walled garden, so not giving customers what they paid for if some sites are arbitrarily blocked.

      There may be valid legal reasons for blocking some sites (e.g. kiddie pr0n sites on official ban lists) , but no reason to block anything else.

      TeamViewer is legitimately (and quite widely) used by lots of people for work reasons (me included) - and blocking it is really not appropriate.

      If I want to block particular sites I will do it on my firewall thanks

      (Caveat - not a TT user)

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Not related to NN, no matter how much you want it to be

      "Remind me again why an ISP shouldn't be allowed to control what goes through its network."

      Because people buy internet service.

      When the ISP is blocking services which compete with its internal offerings, then customers can go elsewhere. Except across vast tracts of the USA, where there is no "elsewhere" to buy from.

      The problem with breaching Net Neutrality is that everything is interconnected on a trust basis and if ISPs start restricting things, the whole model falls apart rapidly, leading to a Balkanisation of the Internet and severely eroding its utility.

      (ie: It might seem like a good idea to the beancounters or marketers, but the long term commercial damage vastly exceeds the short term profit taking)

    3. Kiwi Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Not related to NN, no matter how much you want it to be

      Remind me again why an ISP shouldn't be allowed to control what goes through its network.

      Because as a customer paying for an "unlimited" service, I should be able to visit legitimate firms I trade with without limits?

      (yes, have used TV a lot and have previously purchased a license)

  13. sml156

    Port 3389

    Should of started with port 3389 no one will notice, Next one on the list that no one will notice is port 5900

    In fact now that I think about it they should block all ports except for 443 no one will notice

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Port 3389

      Should *have* ...

      1. Richard Parkin

        Re: Port 3389

        Should *have* ... Should’ve

        FTFY, otherwise they’ll never learn.

  14. depicus
    Paris Hilton

    If TalkTalk really wanted to cut off the scammers then it could simply block some of the "call centre" numbers and ip addresses that use Teamviewer and 0800 numbers and have been for years. Yes they'd just move but at least it disrupts them for a few days.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      That’s a really good point aren’t most TT packages phone as well?

  15. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Being generous - it's Christmas - let's suppose for a moment that the TT management realise that they need to provide customers with a safe, reliable service, allowing for the fact that the bulk of their customers aren't going to be anywhere near the upper quartile of IT-savvy.

    Given their starting point of having had their customer data breached multiple times, how do they do that?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      1. Disable common remote access protocols.

      2. Make enabling them require a call to TT. The chances of the scammer convincing them to hang up, call TT, get them enabled, hang up again, and wait for a new call are low.

      3. If they do manage then the calll centre will asks the customer why (because Windows Helpline told me to/because you just rang me and told me to), they can be told they're being scammed.

      Of course, if the outsourced call centre people are calling TT customers while at work then nothing would help.

  16. Steve Evans

    TalkTalk...

    Putting the Dumb into dumb pipe.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And so it begins

    No doubt this is a result of the NN ruling. ISPs across the pond will become bolder as well.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: And so it begins

      No. It's happened previously and US law has nothing to do with TT.

  18. Refugee from Windows

    Let them pick up the bill

    Most of my customers are out in the sticks, off the beaten track, and their only regular visitor is the milk tanker. If we can't use Teamviewer to connect and sort out their systems, can they bill Talk Talk for needing to have someone travel out to them rather than it being done remotely? What about subsequential losses incurred?

  19. Norman Nescio Silver badge

    El Reg subeditors lying in wait...

    ...for TalkTalk to disrupt a well known Swedish service-provider's offering - then they'll be able to use the headline:

    TalkTalk BorkBorks FlightRadar24.com

    (or similar)

  20. m-k

    apparent scammers pretending to be TalkTalk representatives and trying to fool users

    Hello, I'm from TalkTalk, no, really, and we've got this fantastic broadband offer for you! Did you know that we're the top bestest favouritest UK's broadband provider? But don't take my word for it, try it out yourself!

  21. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Trollface

    TeamViewer is sometimes used by ne'er-do-wells to gain remote access to a victim's computer, but it is also used by many more h̶o̶n̶e̶s̶t̶ stupid people for legitimate purposes.

    There, FTFY, el'Reg!

    [duck for incoming downvotes]

  22. Sam Therapy
    Mushroom

    TalkTalk...

    I've been stuck with that bunch of polystyrene brained goons for a few years (not through choice) but finally we have FTTP in our area. From personal experience, I can state they are far worse - and their staff more clueless - than you could possibly imagine.

    Friday's the day my new connection goes live. Fuck you very much TalkTalk.

  23. 6491wm

    Homesafe not so safe?

    How Ironic

    From TalkTaks Status Page

    https://community.talktalk.co.uk/t5/Service-Status-Dashboard/bd-p/service

    "We're aware that some customers are experiencing issues with their Homesafe settings.

    We are currently investigating this issue and would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused during this time."

    Looking at one of the threads looks like the wrong settings are being randomly applied to peoples lines, dynamic IP addressing issue anybody?

    https://community.talktalk.co.uk/t5/Home-Safe-Super-Safe-Boost/Homesafe/m-p/1716361#M5230

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