#Personal – Amazing surprises managing the internet traffic at home #RaspberryPi #PiHole #Windows10

Hi !

A couple of days ago, my friend Luca (@lucavgobbi) told me about PiHole: A Network-wide Ad Blocking. Even better, let me copy the official description from their GitHub repo:

The Pi-hole® is a DNS sinkhole that protects your devices from unwanted content, without installing any client-side software.

Easy-to-install: our versatile installer walks you through the process, and takes less than ten minutes

Resolute: content is blocked in non-browser locations, such as ad-laden mobile apps and smart TVs

Responsive: seamlessly speeds up the feel of everyday browsing by caching DNS queries

Lightweight: runs smoothly with minimal hardware and software requirements

Robust: a command line interface that is quality assured for interoperability

Insightful: a beautiful responsive Web Interface dashboard to view and control your Pi-hole

Versatile: can optionally function as a DHCP server, ensuring all your devices are protected automatically

Scalable: capable of handling hundreds of millions of queries when installed on server-grade hardware

Modern: blocks ads over both IPv4 and IPv6

Free: open source software which helps ensure you are the sole person in control of your privacy

I setup this in an extra Raspberry Pi 3 that I have at home, and keep it running for the last couple of days. I was in shock when I realized that aprox 30% of my internet traffic is … not so good.

PiHole dashboard

One of the cool features of PiHole, os that you can work with their logs. So I decided to apply some very powerful Machine Learning algorithms to detects anomalies and strange behaviors.

In the meantime, I decided to read the logs, and make some filters just using Excel. And I found a lot of very strange urls. Today I’ll share some of the Microsoft ones.

So, in example, do you know what does this set of urls have in common?

  • location-inference-westus.cloudapp.net
  • licensing.mp.microsoft.com
  • watson.telemetry.microsoft.com

They are all Microsoft endpoints ! It seems that Windows 10 is sending a lot of diagnostic and other type of data. Lucky for us, most of this endpoints are well explained for each one of the Windows 10 versions. So, in example, I don’t use a lot of UWP apps, and it seems to me that the localization service does not need to send a lot of information, from a FIXED PC.

I decided to add some of this domains to the blacklist of domains and so far, so good. Windows is still working amazing, I enabled some of the urls so I can use also Visual Studio and Azure DevOps, and my user experience is still the same (with 30% less of traffic!)

So, I may want to also write about some domains I found other chatty devices uses like my Amazon Alexa, my Roku, and more … maybe in the next post! And kudos to the PiHole team!

Happy Coding!

Greetings @ Burlington

El Bruno

References

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