Author Topic: OpenDNS Blocking Sites  (Read 5827 times)

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Offline Shax

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OpenDNS Blocking Sites
« on: March 17, 2018, 10:02:57 AM »

Hello to Corrine and others here! It's been a while, but I need help if possible please.

I use a particular GardenWeb forum pretty much every day. Always click to it from my Firefox Bookmarks, and have done so for around 10 years. Suddenly today I get the message below. I can still open every other GW forum normally, but this one is being stubborn. There's another non-GW forum with the same problem.

I've searched my computer for any programs or add-ons resembling this OpenDNS thing, but nothing I can find. I certainly didn't download it. It seems to have coincided with today's Windows updates.

It does offer me the chance to report it with my name and email address, but that makes me a bit twitchy.

I just did a System Restore to 3 days ago. I've done full scans with MWB and Avast. And now I notice that while the Skype icon is where it always is on my taskbar, it refuses to open.  And using Chrome gives me the same blocking results.

Anybody know what could be happening?

Offline Corrine

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Re: OpenDNS Blocking Sites
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2018, 01:12:45 PM »
Hi, Shax.  Does it help to flush your DNS cache?

--    Hold down the Windows key and press R.
--    Type cmd and press Enter.
--    In the command prompt, type ipconfig /flushdns and press Enter.



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Offline Digerati

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Re: OpenDNS Blocking Sites
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2018, 01:17:29 PM »
I am not having any problems accessing GardenWeb Forums using the url shown in that OpenDNS image with Pale Moon or Chrome.

And Scamadvisor reports GardenWeb Forums is safe to use. So that would suggest you are receiving a false positive or something else is blocking it.

Did you recently upgrade or add Avast!? I ask because according to OpenDNS, there is a problem of compatibility between OpenDNS and Avast!'s "Secure DNS" feature. They recommend you disable Secure DNS as seen here.

If the above does not help, then flushing the DNS as Corrine suggests would be my next suggestion too. If still no help, then I note that OpenDNS is trusted service. While it is wise to be "twitchy" about clicking on any unsolicited link or popup, it is probably safe in this case. However, you can always just go out to the OpenDNS website directly without clicking on that link and report the false positive as seen by this OpenDNS FAQ.

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Offline Aaron Hulett

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Re: OpenDNS Blocking Sites
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2018, 03:27:53 PM »
I'm gonna take a guess that someone set your DNS settings to point to OpenDNS. When you enter a website address, it needs to be converted to an IP address so your computer can go fetch the webpage. Similar to calling someone as you need their phone number to call them - you might say to your phone, "Call the pizza place," but it has a contact stored where it can get the phone number and then dial it. When you enter gardenweb.com, your computer asks a DNS (Domain Name System) server to look up the IP address, and once your computer gets that IP address, it then asks the computer at that IP address for the webpage content.

With OpenDNS, they offer a service where they can filter out potentially dangerous or questionable content. What may be happening here is your computer asks for gardenweb.com, and OpenDNS says the IP address is actually to one of OpenDNS's servers, and when your computer connects to it asking for the webpage content, OpenDNS gives you that message. They've "intercepted" the lookup. This would be similar to calling information (let's pretend people still do that) to ask for a phone number for a prince that has a million dollars to give me if I send them $5,000 up front, and instead of giving me the prince's phone number, they actually give me the phone number to a scam awareness hotline which I then call and to my surprise I learn about the risk. Ok, they wouldn't do that, but I'm going for the analogy here.

But here, the message says the site was blocked due to a network administrator setting to block Forums/Message boards. Who runs your network / who would make these settings? Is this happening while you're at a work computer, or on your home computer? Someone would have needed to set up an account at OpenDNS and give some very detailed information to make this block work in this way.

You can possibly work around this (if it's a work connection, this may not be advisable as it could run foul of your company policies). Try changing your DNS server - take note of the current setting - it could be an address or two (primary and secondary), or it could be set to obtain automatically. Then, change it to 8.8.8.8 and/or 8.8.4.4. (these are Google DNS servers) and see if you can get to GardenWeb. Here are steps for Windows 10 but it should be similar for other Windows versions.

How to change DNS settings on a Windows 10 PC
https://www.windowscentral.com/how-change-your-pcs-dns-settings-windows-10

Offline ky331

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Re: OpenDNS Blocking Sites
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2018, 05:05:58 PM »
OpenDNS can be customized to block specific groups/categories of websites. 

The screenshot you attached clearly indicates the site was blocked, as being part of Forums/Message Boards.

Forum & Message Boards
can be blocked using OpenDNS, either by explicitly checking this category among the CUSTOM filter settings, or by its inclusion among the HIGH level of filtering.

https://support.opendns.com/hc/en-us/articles/227988047-Web-Content-Filtering-and-Security

Assuming you (or someone authorized to do so) opted-in to OpenDNS on your particular PC [which can also be enabled through one's router, which then applies to all PCs that connect through it], you should be able to adjust the settings as you wish.

Offline Digerati

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Re: OpenDNS Blocking Sites
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2018, 05:18:01 PM »
The bothersome issue is it all worked before, apparently as recently as yesterday. So before making any changes, other than flushing the DNS cache, I might suggest cleaning out the clutter with CCleaner or Windows own Disk Cleanup, rebooting, then trying to access the site again and see what happens.
Bill (AFE7Ret)
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Offline Shax

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Re: OpenDNS Blocking Sites
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2018, 08:20:52 PM »
Thanks for all the welcome advice.
I flushed the DNS cache, no difference. Ran Disk Cleanup, same result.

This is a wired desktop at home, running W10. The Administrator is me. I live alone in a remote area and my house is about 700 metres from my front gate. No-one else has been in my house, let alone on my computer, this year. No remote control has occurred.

I think that Avast! is the problem. According to the page linked to by Digerati https://support.opendns.com/hc/en-us/articles/115008038687-Avast-Security-Suite-and-OpenDNS-problems-  ...
"A new feature called Secure DNS is bundled with Avast! 2015 and is automatically enabled by default. Secure DNS is a feature that aims to secure DNS on the computer by running it through Avast's known DNS servers."


Rather than fiddle with changing the settings for my DNS servers, which is a bridge too far for me, might be time for a change. If I uninstall Avast! and replace with, say, free AVG, would that make this go away? Or would I still retain this new DNS setting?

Offline ky331

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Re: OpenDNS Blocking Sites
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2018, 09:06:49 PM »
Before removing avast for avg, two things to consider:

1) avast's Secure DNS (which is now known as Real Site) is only available in PAID versions of avast.   So if you're using the free version of avast (I don't believe you specified), this would not be the source of your problem.

2) avg is now owned by avast, and so there is significant technology sharing among them.   (Some people go as far as to assert the only real difference between the two is in their User Interface.)  So changing between these two may not make any difference [except that I see you specified the free version of avg].
==============
You wrote:  I've searched my computer for any programs or add-ons resembling this OpenDNS thing, but nothing I can find. I certainly didn't download it.
There is nothing to download --- no program, no add-ons --- for OpenDNS.   It's just changing a setting on your Network's properties.

Now I'm going to go out on a limb, and speculate:  You said "[The problem] seems to have coincided with today's Windows updates".   And I realize you indicated using Windows 10 --- which is why I stress I'm speculating here.   Because for Windows 7, Microsoft has stopped automatically installing the March Monthly Rollup due to several issues people have encountered... among them, that it was causing problems with IP addresses on servers’ virtual Network Interface Cards (vNICs) on VMWare and workstations.   Is it possible that something similar is occurring on (some) Windows 10 systems???  https://www.computerworld.com/article/3263645/windows-pcs/microsoft-stops-pushing-buggy-win7-patch-kb-4088875-hopefully-as-a-precursor-to-yanking-it.html

Offline Shax

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Re: OpenDNS Blocking Sites
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2018, 09:15:42 PM »
Eureka! It's fixed! ;D

I bit the bullet and changed my DNS server addresses to Google's 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 and things are back to normal!

Again, thanks to you all for your gracious advice and expertise. A simple fix for some, but not for me. Couldn't have done it without you all...

Regards from Happy Shax!  ;D

Offline Aaron Hulett

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Re: OpenDNS Blocking Sites
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2018, 09:34:35 PM »
Glad it's working! I do have some follow-ups I can give, but first it'd help to know what was the setting before - was it an IP address or two, or was it set to automatic?

Offline Shax

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Re: OpenDNS Blocking Sites
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2018, 10:09:44 PM »
Hi, Aaron. It was set to automatic, and there were no numbers in the DNS server boxes. Empty.

Offline Aaron Hulett

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Re: OpenDNS Blocking Sites
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2018, 05:56:40 PM »
Ok, this means that your computer was asking something else (your router/wifi box, probably) for those settings, and that thing was specifically set to use the OpenDNS settings. Did someone help you set up your internet access? They may have set it that way on purpose.

I'm not convinced it's the Avast software as the link you provided about Secure DNS / Real Site calls out that OpenDNS may *not* work when using the Secure DNS feature. However, I am not aware of how Secure DNS works, such as if they rely on OpenDNS data.

Any Avast users here aware of a setting that pulls in using OpenDNS?