Cisco AnyConnect Client DNS issues

Since I started using the Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client, I had DNS issues. I could not fully figure out why this happens on my system, but all signs lead to an issue with scoped DNS queries on macOS. Whenever the VPN is established, macOS uses the wrong order to resolve DNS entries. This leads to DNS query timeouts, but under certain circumstances to complete DNS failures, as the system insists on using the unreachable DNS server.

The problem exists for a long time now, at least since macOS Mountain Lion. For a long time I had to live with this annoyance, as the issue persisted with every new version of the AnyConnect client. But now I found a workaround, maybe even a long-term solution. It is possible to tell the macOS resolver to use certain DNS servers for certain domains. Setting this up is rather easy:

[email protected]:~:$ sudo mkdir /etc/resolver
[email protected]:~:$ echo 'nameserver' > /etc/resolver/
[email protected]:~:$ sudo killall -9 mDNSResponder && dscacheutil -flushcache

After restarting the mDNSResponder daemon and flushing the DNS cache, I was all set. I hope this will become a long-term solution for this issue, that plagued me for so long.

macOS: Video files in Quarantine

I am not sure when it exactly started. But some time after I upgraded to High Sierra, VLC started to display a “Verifying the file” prompt with a progress bar whenever I opened a MKV or MP4 file. It did it every time and for every file, which was very annoying — to say the least!

After some research I found that all the files had the special permission set, which was only visible via xattr.

[email protected]:/Volumes/Media:$ xattr /path/to/file.mkv
[email protected]:/Volumes/Media:$

After removing the special quarantine attribute with, the prompt was gone and did not re-appear so far.

[email protected]:/Volumes/Media:$ sudo xattr -r -d /path/to/file.mkv

I can only speculate that the increased security measures in High Sierra automatically flagged certain files. Why it only affected MKV and MP4 files on my system, I do not know. I think the false-positives were caused by a faulty heuristic, or something similar. But your guess is as good as mine.

Lootbox madness

A couple of days ago the Washington Post wrote an article about EA’s Battlefront 2. It was the first time I read something this thorough and detailed about a game and its mechanics in a general media publication — and not in a gaming blog or podcast.

After some countries in Europe already started investigating several games for loot boxes and gambling, it seems that Hawaii will be the first state to do so in the US. I hope, that many other states will join them and that this lootbox madness will be phased out of the games rather quickly now.