Earlier this week we pointed out an nbn ad that was advertising speeds that, for anyone not on a satellite connection, were less than spectacular. And it's been a bit of a rollercoaster ride for the ad: the ad went up, NBN Co took it down, and then it was re-uploaded.
For the most part, the ad that was re-uploaded is identical to what went online earlier this week. Except for one thing.
As users pointed out this morning via email, there's a detail in the original Speedtest beyond the 598ms ping and the download/upload speed. For comparison, here's the feature image again:
And an image I took from the original ad before NBN Co pulled it from YouTube:
As you can see, the difference is the visible IP address in the bottom left.
Normally this wouldn't be an issue, except for the fact that Skymesh issues static IPs to customers across all their services. A Skymesh representative confirmed over the phone that the static IPs issued across all their services are permanent, with users notified if that IP is to be changed for whatever reason.
Put simply, your IP address is a permanent marker for other devices and computers to find you on the internet. Knowing an IP address is like knowing someone's home address; you know where to find them, but that doesn't mean you'll be able to break down their front door. But by displaying the IP in the ad, NBN inadvertently exposed a potentially vulnerable connection. Not everyone is expected to have a good handle on internet security, especially if you live in the middle of the bush where internet connectivity is more of a luxury, and NBN Co shouldn't be publicising IP addresses anyway.
If you're a Skymesh customer and you're issued a private IP, you'd expect it to stay private.
I emailed NBN Co asking three things:
• Did the IP address displayed in the original ad belong to a user, or business, and were they notified beforehand?
• Why did NBN Co display a full IP in the advert in the first place?
• And will NBN Co take steps in the future to avoid displaying IP addresses in their adverts going forward?
If I get a response on any of the above questions, I'll let you know.
Update (12:33 PM): An NBN Co representative has replied with a statement:
An error was identified in the clip post-publication. As soon as we became aware of the error, nbn took immediate steps and can confirm the IP address used in the original clip is not active.
They didn't answer whether it was active at the time the ad was published, mind you.