Oh woe is (Mobile)Me

Sunday, Apr 25, 2010 3 minute read Tags: mobile-me fail
Hey, thanks for the interest in this post, but just letting you know that it is over 3 years old, so the content in here may not be accurate.

Anyone who is (lucky enough to be) on my msn contact list (and signed in during my work hours) will have seen something curious happening over the past week since I returned back to work.

For those of you not, basically I was signing in and out constantly with a frequency of say every 10 minutes. This oddly made is surprisingly hard to hold a conversation with someone. But more problematic was that not only was msn dropping out but the whole internet was. You could hardly even achieve a successful Google search.

And this wasn’t just a problem for me, but for everyone here at TheFARM.

The first assumption was that it was something wrong with our ISP, we’re not on a super faster internet connection, and no one had problems outside of work, so it seemed like a logical assumption… right?

Well it turns out that when you assume you make an ass out of you and me (ha, see what I did there! :P). The problem wasn’t our internet, in fact the problem could be blamed on one individual, yep you guessed it, me :(.

Turns out that when I wasn’t on the network everything was fine, everyone could use the web, chat on msn, do what ever they wanted, but as soon as I plugged in, BAM, the internet died. So after a bit of detective work (mostly by Shannon) it was concluded that my computer was doing something nasty to the network. So we cracked out a copy of Wireshark and decided to do some detective work with packet sniffing.

Immediately it was obvious what was happening, I was flooding our DNS server with requests, requests that the DNS server was returned as invalid. The requests kept looking for a URL along the lines of tcp.members.mac.com and after a bit of searching it turned out that that URL is related to the Apple MobileMe service. So Shan asked if I was signed up with MobileMe, to which I responded “I don’t believe so”, but it turned out again I was wrong, I had signed up to MobileMe, but it must have been when I first got my iPhone. When you get an iPhone you can sign up with a 60 day trail, something I must have done (hey, it said I was signed in, guess I signed up at some point :P). After doing some quick math I concluded that it was ~60 days since I got my iPhone when we first started having internet problems (the last working week last year).

I instantly signed out of MobileMe, and low and behold the DNS flooding stopped happening!

Thank you Apple for producing a service which is capable of bringing down an office network, you’ve just made sure I strongly consider not purchasing MobileMe in the future!

Oh and I’m never going to live this down at work, Shan isn’t a fan of Apple so this is just adding fuel to the fire!