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UPD PC League of Legends Gamers Blame UK ISP Porn Filter for Update Block

Monday, January 20th, 2014 (2:09 pm) - Score 1,714

A group of PC gamers that play the popular online multiplayer game League of Legends have warned that the security settings on some broadband routers and the new generation of ISP-side network-level Internet filters, which are designed to block online adult content, could be blocking updates for the game.

Generally there’s nothing especially “adult” about League of Legends, at least not in the pornographic sense, but never the less various reports appear to suggest that some customers of the game are struggling to download updates when their ISP has a network-level filter enabled.

The problem, it’s claimed, apparently stems from the fact that the games auto-update process calls URLs and filenames over the HTTP protocol that contain letters which spell “sex“; albeit not intentionally (e.g. VarusExpirationTimer.luaobj and XerathMageChainsExtended.luaobj). This normally shows up alongside the “RADS::Common::HTTPConnection::GetFile: File not found” error in LoL’s patcher logs.

According to Reddit user and LoL gamer LoLBoompje, “The cause is that your provider is blocking any URLs that contain any pornographic content. Apparently that includes cases like this.” At present Sky Broadband, BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk have all launched, or are in the process of launching, voluntary network-level filtering. But not all of these systems work in the same way and we normally wouldn’t expect to see this kind of generic live disruption to file transfers.

Apparently disabling the filter fixes the problem, which is of course easier said than done if you play the game.. but the bill payer (person with control to change the filter) happens to be one of your parents and not yourself. However, it should be said that those whom have complained about the problem do not specify which ISP they’re using, which makes it difficult for us to confirm.

Similarly we’ve seen this problem occur before due to strict anti-virus/firewall settings and some routers contain filtering services that, when enabled, can also cause the same issue. Suffice to say that it could be tricky to track down the exact cause but disabling the ISPs filter is at least one thing to try. If any UK LoL players have experienced this issue then please leave a comment and we’re especially interested to know which ISP you’re using.

UPDATE 22nd Jan 2014

Over the past few days we have tried and so far failed to replicate this issue on BT, Sky Broadband and TalkTalk connections when their respective filters have been enabled. Now we’re not saying that the LoL players whom raised the complaint are wrong but without more information we’d still be inclined to point at the clients anti-virus/firewall or router security settings first.

At present TalkTalk’s HomeSafe filter is really the only one that actually analyses URLs in a way that might potentially trigger such an issue. But it didn’t cause it when we tested on a Laptop yesterday.

In our view, short of more examples, it’s therefore more likely that somebody extrapolated a problem caused by a similar system in another country and assumed it would also apply to the UK. But Internet filters are not all created equal and the DNS based solutions adopted by BT and Sky just don’t seem invasive enough to be the cause. Indeed LoL ran fine on both.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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