On Tracing and Anonymity on the Internet

Thought I would make a post on how far someone can be traced when using the internet, just FYI.

Anonymity on the internet is something that a lot of people are crazy over. A lot of people also have very strange ideas about it. Usually stemming from various weirdass movies. I still shudder to think of Hackers(1996). That movie was practically horror to watch for a techie.

When you connect to the internet, you are assigned an IP address. This is so that other computers that want to connect to you can find you. It’s like your home address. When you ask for somehting from a server, it sends the data requested to your IP addy. This address is usually dynamically assigned. Which means that each time you connect, you get a different one. That is, unless your ISP gave you a static IP, which is rare.

This IP address gets noted down in logs in various corners of the internet that you visit. Like your ISP for example. Or even wordpress, where your IP is logged along with your comment. There is more or less nothing else that gets left behind when you use the internet to post something. That is, IF you use it properly. By properly I mean having user accounts which have no real information on you, and you don’t reveal information yourself.

Say you want to blog anonymously. You create an email address just for that, do not use it for any other purposes online, make an account with an online service like wordpress or blogger, again not providing real information, then continue to use just those two without somehow linking them to other accounts you may have and you’ll be fine. Just make sure you don’t make your posts at work or something, where your data has to go through a company server which might have a name assigned to its IP.

That will be more than enough to keep away all but the most serious stalkers off you. Unless you go screw it up and throw a fan at the shit, the only way to find out exactly who you are is to look through your ISP’s logs to see whose account was using the IP you were posting from at that time.

As for people getting to you through your ISP, most ISP’s do not give out information like that under normal circumstances.

Now, the easy way to get around that is to use an internet cafe or something, make sure to not stick to one; Or simply get your hands on a SIM card from some mobile service provider that isn’t registered in your name. Preferably not to anyone you know either. Which more or less means you’ll have to either steal or otherwise magically acquire one. Now just use that and a capable phone to connect to a PC and use the internet through that. That way the assigned IP leads to some other fellow.

At this point you’ll be undetectable to all but God, more or less. But surprisingly, most people have their identities uncovered by much simpler methods. Like reusing an email address for something associated with their name, or commenting to WP blogs through work. Sometimes is as simple as a friend telling someone. Even I’ve been told about a lot of you people bfore I met you.

So yeah, it IS possible to be completely anonymous for all practical purposes on the internet. Just make sure you don’t have anyone literally looking over your shoulder or something while doing it.

4 Responses to “On Tracing and Anonymity on the Internet”

  1. 1 Chavie
    October 16, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    also: proxy servers! 🙂

  2. 2 Delilah
    October 16, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    *throws fan at berry 😛

  3. October 22, 2009 at 2:43 am

    Hello from Russia!
    Can I quote a post in your blog with the link to you?

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