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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

 

Staying anonymous

Anonymity is a problem in the blogging fraternity what with trying to keep ones job and sanity in these PC times. The problem is, because of its very makeup the Internet is not a secure environment.

For example; Anonymous comments on Haloscan are not anonymous at all. All visitors leave their IP address along with their posted comments. Say if someone posts comments on someone else’s blog that they find offensive or objectionable in any way it’s a pretty simple task to get hold of their IP address and run a trace on it. The tools are mainly text based, but it’s not rocket science, and most people can master it reasonably quickly. Now this is a bit of a grey area as far as the misuse of computers act is concerned. To track someone’s web activity once you have their IP address is relatively simple unless they take certain steps to protect themselves. To do so and introduce ‘malicious’ code or view private information is an offence, but just to track someone isn’t. This means you can easily block an IP address or location of a spammer once you’ve worked out where they are from.

So if someone you don’t care for is haunting your site or blog, ten seconds later you may be able to ping their firewall with the message “I know where you live”. But I wouldn’t do that because I’m not that kind of person. Very often.

In return my anonymity is not guaranteed, but safeguarded by my actions. First; I treat others views with politeness, even if I don’t entirely agree. Second; I take basic precautions, firewall, IP spoofing etc; even if these are not guaranteed means of protecting my location and identity. It’s a simple safeguard like locking your door when you leave the house.

It’s axiomatic that the most determined thief will crack your security. The tools are readily available and easy to use. The best thing you can do is make it not worth their time and effort to do so.

Oh yes, don’t ask me to provide links to the tools I’ve alluded to; do it yourself.

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Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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