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12 Dec, 2016 18:58

Russian telecom regulator ‘blacklists’ itself

Russian telecom regulator ‘blacklists’ itself

In an apparent error Russia’s telecom regulator has attempted to ban an IP address reserved for “this computer,” an online freedom watchdog noticed, sarcastically adding that the agency tried to “ban itself.”

The gaffe happened on Saturday, when Roskomnadzor processed a ruling of the Moscow City Court to block a website infringing on copyright.

The entry of the blacklist, which Russian internet service providers use to enforce blocks for their users, listed the website name, karaoke-besplatno.ru as well as its IP address, the four numbers that identify nodes of a computer network.

The problem was that the address they put in was – which is specifically reserved for localhost. This address designates a computer that is alone in a local network and used for loopback routing of data – when a single computer runs a server program and its client and basically “talks to itself.” Loopback is useful for testing network software in a secure environment.

Taken as written, Roskomnadzor has either asked internet service providers to block the agency itself or to ban themselves from the internet.

“The thing that so many have been waiting [to happen] for many years has happened: Roskomnadzor blacklisted localhost,” the watchdog, which calls itself Roskomsvoboda, reported. “Did Roskomnadzor try to ban itself from the internet. Well, good initiative!”

The erroneous order was canceled on Sunday. The mistake was apparently the regulator’s fault, since the court ruling doesn’t mention any IP addresses of the offending website, only its name.

Roskomnadzor accused the company that hosted the site of setting up a trap for the agency.

It was an IT trick. They used it for the sole purpose of seeing ironic headlines in the media about Roskomnadzor. I believe this trickery makes things worse only for the reputation of the provider,” Vadim Ampelonsky, spokesman for the agency, told Govorit Moskva radio station, refraining from naming the hosting company.