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Monday 14 January 2008

The BBC iPlayer in a corporate environment

The BBC have spent a lot of time and money developing the BBC iPlayer it turns out that it's just another P2P application running on Kontiki.

So, I've written a guide for corporate IT departments giving them a pointer as to what the iPlayer is all about and how to block it - which it turns out should be easy enough!

Blocking BBC iPlayer, 4OD and Sky-by-Broadband


Unknown said...

Blocking BBC Iplayer flash player.

While blocking / restricting the Kontiki download application is pretty straightforward by simply blocking ports outbound, I've found that blocking the newly released flash version of Iplayer is a little more interesting.

Whilst it is easy to block this with any content filter software - Websense etc, some firms don't have this available to them. My solution follows:

Through the Firefox LiveHTTPHeaders plugin I got a trace of where the flash player was connecting to. It seems that Iplayer downloads a playlist of where it should retrieve the video stream itself from. This comes from a domain called edgefcs.net - I guess this is some sort of Akamai clone that does load balancing etc.

In my case the video playlists are served from cp44293.edgefcs.net I simply added an entry into my DNS servers that routed that subdomain to - you could also add a wildcard that routes *.edgefcs.net to some other non existent ip. Any attempt to play a Iplayer video through the flash interface will result in the user getting a "Something went wrong. There seems to be a problem playing this video - please try again." error message.

This worked for me on 18/06/2008 though hasn't been extensively tested. I'm also not sure what else might break - there must be other firms using edgefcs.net for whatever.

Hope this helps somebody

Brian Cryer said...

Redirecting *.edgefcs.net to localhost worked a treat. Redirecting cp44293.edgefcs.net didn't work, because for me it seemed to be using cp41752.edgefcs.net. Since I don't know whether and when it changes (does it change per program or per day?) I decided to block *.edgefcs.net. Since I manage DNS for the network this was quite easy, not sure how you would do it if you just had access to a hosts file.
Brian Cryer

Pyrobrit said...

Adding edgefcs.net to websense as a "custom URL recategorized" did the same for me. That way I can giv eit quota time for those users who are allowed teh service for 1 hour each day.