Thursday, August 27, 2009

Can a computer user hide his IP address? Does he need to?


Here’s another trick question, in a “Tech MSN” column written by Paul Hochman. The article is called “Hiding in plain sight: Is my personal information safe when I go online?”

A reader asks Paul if there is a way to hide his IP address when he sends an email. Paul gives an answer that, no, it can’t be hidden, although many ISP’s (like AOL) change it all the time. But it takes a court order to get anything more, even your name if your anonymous (and I’ve written a lot lately about misbehaving anonymous bloggers).

His answer is here.

If you have your own website, most ISP’s give you access to logs, which may enable you to see where page requests for your site come from. You can do a reverse IP lookup on WHOIS sites like “Domain tools”. If it’s your employer, a lot of times the IP address will give your employer away. That happened for me in 2005 with the local public school system where I was substitute teaching. I could tell that a school administrator had searched for my name with a disturbing search argument, and solve a personnel issue that was going on.

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