Problem downloading Security Now episodes

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MichaelRSorg

Well-known member
Nov 1, 2020
59
6
RouterSecurity.org
I have been using the same Android podcast playing app for years and used it download many episodes of Security Now. However, the last episode (on FLOC) would not download. I tried it multiple times over the course of a few days and fail, fail, fail.

At first I thought there must have been a typo in the RSS feed so I checked
https://feeds.twit.tv/podcasts/sn.xml
and compared the Enclosure field from the last two episodes which links to the mp3 files. No typo.

Then, it occurred to me to try another episode and it too would not download. I have a number of defenses on my devices and guessed that NextDNS, which is running system-wide on the Android device, might be the problem. It was.

With NextDNS disabled, I could download the episode.

Then the question was what specifically caused the problem. The RSS feed MP3 URL starts with
https://pdst.fm/e/chtbl.com/track/.....
but when I put this into my browser, I end up at a different domain.
https://twit.cachefly.net/audio/sn/....

So, my guess was that pdst.fm redirects to something NextDNS thinks is bad, before we end up at twit.cachefly.net. NextDNS has a log, which I then checked.

Right after the DNS lookup for pdst.fm, there was a DNS lookup for chtbl.com which was blocked. My guess is that's the problem. However, around this time, NextDNS also blocked DNS lookups for
reports.crashlytics.com
e.crashlytics.com
app-measurement.com
Maybe those were the problem?

Leo is a big fan of NextDNS (as am I), so I might not be the only person with this problem.
 

EdwinG

Active member
Sep 24, 2020
44
13
I had this same behaviour with several podcasts (IIRC, including some of the BBC and CBC podcasts). I had to allowlist chtbl.com before downloads would occur.

Things like crashlytics.com and app-measurement.com are added by your podcatcher to monitor crashes - or abnormal behaviours - and usage.
 
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PHolder

Well-known member
Sep 16, 2020
630
2
308
Ontario, Canada
With NextDNS disabled, I could download the episode.
Yes, TWiT is being forced to do additional tracking of downloads, and they have started using ad inserts by Megaphone. Both of these services are on varying blocklists that you may indirectly subscribe to (either in a pi-hole fashion or in NextDNS or other similar extensions or services.) There is plenty of info on this on the twit.community site, as others have encountered it. You're going to have to do some whitelisting, or join the new TWiT Club (which eliminates tracking and ads for US$7/mo.)

Here's one recent post on the matter with Leo's advice: https://www.twit.community/t/problems-downloading-podcasts/9889/4
 
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