News Limited and the ‘sslcam’ redirect

Recently I was in the middle of researching a blog post, when my internet connection crapped out, leaving me at an odd looking URL. The middle bit of it made sense – www.theaustralian.com.au – but what is up with the sslcam.news.com.au domain name?

https://sslcam.news.com.au/cam/authorise?channel=pc&url=http%3a%2f%2fwww.theaustralian.com.au%2fbusiness%2flatest%2fsmartphone-app-to-track-public-transport-woes%2fstory-e6frg90f-1226863043667

I then started researching the odd looking domain name, with the only thing of note being somebody else complaining about it:

I then went back to the original link I clicked on, and followed the chain of network activity that followed.

News Limited using 'sslcam' domain to track users

First hit – the shortened link I found on Twitter:

http://t.co/wLP4Lj9kXP

Which redirected to the article on the website of The Australian:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/latest/smartphone-app-to-track-public-transport-woes/story-e6frg90f-1226863043667

When then redirected me to a page to check for cookies – presumably part of their paywall system:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/remote/check_cookie.html?url=http%3a%2f%2fwww.theaustralian.com.au%2fbusiness%2flatest%2fsmartphone-app-to-track-public-transport-woes%2fstory-e6frg90f-1226863043667

It then sent me back to the original article:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/latest/smartphone-app-to-track-public-transport-woes/story-e6frg90f-1226863043667

Which then bounced me to the mysterious sslcam.news.com.au domain:

https://sslcam.news.com.au/cam/authorise?channel=pc&url=http%3a%2f%2fwww.theaustralian.com.au%2fbusiness%2flatest%2fsmartphone-app-to-track-public-transport-woes%2fstory-e6frg90f-1226863043667

And third request lucky – the original article:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/latest/smartphone-app-to-track-public-transport-woes/story-e6frg90f-1226863043667

Quite the chain of page redirects!

The sslcam.news.com.au domain

Internet services company Netcraft have collated the following information:

Date first seen: January 2012
Organisation: News Limited
Netblock Owner: Akamai International, BV
Nameserver: dns0.news.com.au
Reverse DNS: a23-51-195-181.deploy.static.akamaitechnologies.com

Akamai Technologies is a company that runs a content delivery network used by many media companies use – their systems make websites faster to load by saving a copy of frequently viewed content to servers located closer to the end users.

As for the reason for the cascade of page redirects and the mysterious sslcam.news.com.au domain, I’m at a loss to explain it – sorry!

Footnote

The sslcam.news.com.au domain is also used by other News Limited websites – the Herald Sun also routes traffic to their website via it.

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8 Responses to “News Limited and the ‘sslcam’ redirect”

  1. frustrated reader says:

    This happened to me, except mine won’t open any of news ltd web sites. Eg daily t, courier mail, the aus. It’s really annoying.

  2. frustrated reader says:

    Ps how do you disconnect it? I have no idea. Thank you.

    • Marcus Wong says:

      The only way around it I have found is to find the “headline” in the URL that is broken (eg: “smartphone-app-to-track-public-transport-woes”, paste it into Google, and then see if the article shows up there.

      The redirect is done at the News Limited end, so there isn’t a way for the end user to disable it.

      • frustrated reader says:

        Thank you. Ironic, an American company blocks news pages in Australia.
        kind of good in another way, it’s only no news ltd. Daily terrible graph, Herald, courier snail. Lol

        Thank you. ????

  3. Paul Sydney says:

    The Irony is,

  4. Wodger says:

    Sucks balls, that’s all I can say.

  5. Colin says:

    I find if you go back to the original page where you clicked on the story, you can then click on it again and the second time it will bring up the right page.

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