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Not so secret on the Internet

by mtmk / January 7, 2006 3:07 AM PST

Hi all,

I use a Dell laptop, supplied by my company, with WIndows XP professional, and abunch of anti-virus software, etc.

I recently signed up at an online community, using a screen name and the email address I use where I want all my spam to go. (I don't use that one here!;) )

On one particular visit, I clicked on an area that listed who in the community was online. Well, not only was I listed, but my IP address was listed, along with the kind of browser I used, as well as my operating system! This was the same with most of the other registered users.

Now, I thought I was pretty computer-savy, but I was not aware that that detail of information about my computer was available with the protections I have on my system.

Do I need to check my firewall software? Or do I need to go further in hiding my identity? Is this normal, or am I unusually exposed? I have IE 6.

Thanks in advance,

Mike

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It's normal...
by John.Wilkinson / January 7, 2006 3:55 AM PST

Every site you visit has to potential to log such information, and almost every e-mail you send will include the IP address you sent it from in the extended header. Thus, what a lot of people don't realize is that browing the internet is not anonomyous. A few security suites will limit what information is given, (hide your OS, browser, and clipboard information), but that's it. To find out what all is being broadcast and/or can be found out by a simple search, click here. Be sure to check out the various links down the middle of the page. There is software out there that can hide this info, usually by using a proxy. (Anything you send/receive will go through one of hundreds or thousands of proxy servers before reaching it's final destination, so the recipient, website, etc will only see the IP address of the proxy server.) Of course this isn't perfect, but the programs Anonymizer and ProxyWay (see the above link) can get the job done.

Hope this helps,
John

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Somewhat relieving
by ST3ALTHPSYCH0 / January 7, 2006 4:02 AM PST
In reply to: It's normal...

It was nice to see that when I traced the IP address through that link that it showed up as SBC internet, and not my name and address. But I've seen on other forums that this info isn't neccesarily all that difficult to obtain.

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Thanks
by mtmk / January 7, 2006 6:18 AM PST
In reply to: It's normal...

Thanks,John. That clarifies it for me.

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