Saturday , October 21 2017

Netflix cracks down on DNS-based VPN in Android app

netflix-customer-service-contact-phone-number
Brace yourselves, folks: looks like Netflix are getting tough on circumvention of geoblocking. Reports have surfaced on Reddit that the latest versions of the Netflix Android app have been hard-coded to use the Google Public DNS servers (8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4). This effectively prevents users from specifying custom DNS servers that redirect certain traffic via VPN servers based in the desired country.

So far at least two VPN providers, Unblock-US and UnoTelly, have acknowledged the update to the Android app, advising their users in their forums.

It’s surprising that Netflix has taken this long to fight back against the myriad DNS-based services that allow users to bypass geoblocking restrictions. Despite good intentions, it’s still technically against Netflix’ terms and conditions to access their content in this manner. That said, it would be foolish to believe that Netflix would be able to ignore as many as 200,000 Australians bypassing their geoblock and accessing Netflix content for very long.

Fortunately, there’s good news: at this stage it appears that Netflix hasn’t done anything to prevent users from using DNS-based circumvention services to access Netflix on any other medium. It remains to be seen whether this modification to the Android app is the first step in a larger plan to shut out non-compliant users, but for now subscribers in Australia can rest assured that their streaming fix is still available. For now.

 
Source: Reddit.

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38 Comments on "Netflix cracks down on DNS-based VPN in Android app"

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anony
Valued Guest
anony

FYI, Netflix 3.10.0 build 4327 for Android now makes my Nexus 7 Lollipop tablets work with Netflix. It is currently only available via sites like apkmirror but will probably hit the play store with the next few weeks. If you had problems with Android Lollipop reporting the dreaded “Sorry we could not reach the netflix service (-3)” errors on Android then try out this build.

Kendra
Valued Guest
Kendra

That’s a good article Matthew. I personally prefer UnoTelly. It’s similar to unblock-us GEtflix) but they offer a DNS server close to physical location and I can achieve better performance.

Alan Wade
Valued Guest
Alan Wade

Unotelly is good but i tried PureVPN Free Android app. It was too good for Netflix

zqudlyba
Valued Guest
zqudlyba

I’m sticking with torrent.

Ross
Valued Guest
Ross

I had to revert to build 3.2.0 to get it working again.

Member

Rats, tried rolling back to that version, but get the “please update your netflix app to play on this tv” that I saw previously on an older version. A newer version won’t start as they detect that the time zone doesn’t match up.

chris
Valued Guest
chris

This has been an issue for the last 6 months. Late to the story boys..

Rowan
Valued Guest

Still works for me with the latest version. I have a static route set up on all traffic on the relevant port. This makes both the app and the Chromecast think its sending info to the Google DNS severs. But most importantly, it also thinks its receiving data from the Google DNS severs when in fact its all going through Getflix.

Here’s the commands I use when I Ssh into my router:

iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -d 8.8.8.8 -p udp –dport 53 -j DNAT –to YOURDNSSERVER
iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -d 8.8.4.4 -p udp –dport 53 -j DNAT –to YOURDNSSERVER

Cheers

Fred
Valued Guest
Fred

Worthwhile remembering that you don’t HAVE to use your router as the gateway/DHCP server. It’s possible to run these servers on, say, a RaspPi box, or NAS – giving you the above iptables functionality. That box then just chains through to the actual modem/router.

You can even differentiate via MAC address – your Chromecast, Roku, etc. go via getflix with the google DNS calls redirected etc., and your main computer goes direct to your normal ISP.

Daniel Tyson
Ausdroid Manager

Hi Rowan, we have included these instructions in our Netflix How-To guide http://ausdroid.net/howto/chromecast-coming-heres-can-get-netflix-work/

chris
Valued Guest
chris

You need a custom ROM for that in nearly all cases. Most routers don’t allow a redirect just static routes so short of flashing custom ROMs it isn’t going to happen.

Rowan
Valued Guest

Works straight out of the box on my Billion router

Paul Smedley
Valued Guest
Paul Smedley

doesn’t everyone run openwrt or dd-wrt on their routers? First thing I check for when buying a new router is opensource rom 😉

Daniel Tyson
Ausdroid Manager

No – people with OpenWRT or DD-WRT routers are definitely in the minority.

Anouk
Valued Guest
Anouk

It’s actually been like this for quite some time. If you’re an Android user, I believe version 3.7.2 of the Netflix app is the last version that did NOT include the hard coding of Google’s DNS servers.

I’ve had to block 8.8.8.8 and 4.4.4.4 on my router a few months back when the Roku app stopped working (UnoTelly) user.

Paul Smedley
Valued Guest
Paul Smedley

Easy enough in most routers to redirect google DNS ips to whatever address you want to….

Member

Yep. Nothing some good static routes won’t fix. https://getflix.zendesk.com/hc/en-gb/articles/202281524-Block-Public-DNS-Overview

Although if wanting to watch while mobile you’ll need to root your Android device and use Linux commands to set them on your device.

Ismael Jawad
Valued Guest

You can always use Smart DNS to access geoblocked services like Netflix. This article explains exactly how it’s done http://goo.gl/57jh0W

GregAndo
Valued Guest
GregAndo

I get the impression that it would be possible to NAT around this if you were network savy anyway by making all DNS traffic go to unblock-us regardless of what the device is trying to connect to…

Michael Neuling
Valued Guest

Many people do this already since the Chromecast does the same.

Member

I was slightly confused when i first read the article as i thought something more rigourous was coming … but it just feels like an alignment of strategy by Netflix for android that they have implemented on the Chromecast.

Member

I’m not so sure this is done for Geoblocking, Google has recommended Large App Devs to use their DNS for faster routing and on Chromecast, Nexus Player etc. it defaults to Google DNS. If I see this approach taken towards other platform other than Google’s I will believe it much more.

Kryptonyte
Valued Guest
Kryptonyte
This has actually been the case for the last couple of versions of the Android client. I believe this is also the case on the PS3/PS4/Xbone clients too. However if you run a decent router with a custom firmware such as DD-WRT, Tomato, OpenWRT etc you can add a simple Firewall/IP Tables init script to re-route Google DNS to Getflix, Unblock-US etc. I have been doing this for a couple of months and it works fine. More info here: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2435579 Just follow the example on XDA and replace the last IP address in the example with your DNS IP provided… Read more »
Member
Luke Vesty

“Despite good intentions, it’s still technically illegal to access Netflix content in this manner.”

But is it? My understanding is that it’s not illegal but simply a breach of Netflix’s terms of service.

Matthew Thompson
Valued Guest
Matthew Thompson

Section 10 of the Copyright Act 1968 makes it illegal to access content that has “Technological Protection Measures”. I admit that it depends on how you define a “Technological Protection Measure”, but until someone decides to have that argument in front of the High Court, it’s really up for grabs.

Member

This is my understanding too.

This change won’t affect me. I intercept anything aimed at Google’s DNS and redirect it to my own DNS server, which then uses getflix.com DNS servers instead. Netflix works very nicely on my Chromecast thank you very much

Paul Walker
Valued Guest
Paul Walker

Looks like I’ll be blocking the Google DNS on my router!

Member
Darren

Will that work? Looking at getting Netflix soon with one of those DNS services set at router level.

chris
Valued Guest
chris

No it won’t. Blocking it crashes the app as it will only work with Google’s DNS. Chromecast tries to connect to google when it fails because the IP is blocked it defaults to the dhcp or set IP address for DNS. The app does not it just fails to connect at all and errors out.

Paul Walker
Valued Guest
Paul Walker

I haven’t tested it myself but I understand that people do this with devices like the Roku. When the Google DNS fails they just fallback to the router’s DNS (GetFlix in my case).

Chris
Valued Guest

Doesn’t always work.. better off not blocking the DNS, but intercepting it and rerouting it. A bit harder to do, but it works consistently.

Damon Lewis
Valued Guest
Damon Lewis

I guess I won’t update the app then.

subnoize
Valued Guest
subnoize

Now we wait for Netflix to come to Australia with the good old Australian tax.

Alex
Valued Guest

Foxtel has exclusive rights to a lot of US shows, so the Australian version of netflix will be both more expensive, and have less content.

Carbs
Valued Guest
Carbs

I don’t mind if its a bit more expensive, but I’m more concerned that they will have significantly less content, the current “competition” (if you could call it that) have very limited content and are not worth paying for it.

Brendan Shadwell
Valued Guest
Brendan Shadwell

Might cancel netflix. Primewire time.

Adam Seidel
Valued Guest
Adam Seidel

And next to none of the decent content that the US gets…

anon
Valued Guest
anon

Pretty much exactly this, we all know it – they wonder why we pirate things. It’s 2015, when I can literally log on to your site, see your US pricing as less than half of mine for something digital, you shouldn’t wonder why I want it at that price. Idiocy.

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