Comcast Blocks VPN Traffic

So I’m sitting at a friend’s restaurant today, helping him out with some various business topics. He currently doesnt have an Internet connection, but, thankfully, another tenant in the building has Comcast’s XFinity service, and Comcast likes to create public wifi hotspots automatically if you use their equipment.

I signed in and verified that I was connected to the Internet, great! Habitally the next thing I do is try to connect to the VPN out of my house, which is a pretty basic PPTP connection. Not the secure thing in the world, but its good enough for me. I wasnt too surprised when it failed to connect, PPTP is often blocked, I’m used to that.

Next I open up my Private Internet Access.com VPN, which uses an SSL connection. I selected the default, US Midwest, endpoint and hit connect. The connection went through pretty quick and I was successfully connected to PIA. Imagine my surprise when I wasnt able to browse to any website. I tried several websites, including HackerNews, Google, CNN, etc, etc. Nothing, it just wont let me browse.

Just to clarify then, Comcast blocks anonymized VPN traffic when you are connected to one of their public hotspots.

Natrually I tried the TOR Browser next, which, thankfully, worked just fine. So why then would Comcast want to block anonymous VPN traffic, but not TOR? I dont know the answer, hopefully someone else does. But I do know the answer to another question.

Why does Comcast block VPN Traffic in general?

Well once I had given up and decided I just wouldnt log in to any sensitive sites I started browsing around. One of my first stops was a Reuters article about Superbugs. As soon as the page loaded, I was greeted with a page covering modal ad from Comcast. I closed it, and didnt think to get a picture of it, and I haven’t been able to get it to come back.

At the end of the day its pretty obvious that Comcast is injecting ads, and probably monitoring traffic. And making us all less secure at the same time.

 
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