The Truth About Hiding Your Tracks on the Internet

Ok, ok, I know you've seen them. All those pop up windows claiming that "You're being watched!" or banner ads saying "Your computer is under surveillance!" And all you need to do is buy their product and your computer's visbility will disappear from the Internet. Well, to state the obvious, that's just not true.

We have to give those companies some credit though - they are giving you half of the truth. If they were giving you the whole story, what they'd be saying is that their software will make your surfing tracks disappear from your personal computer. Not from the Internet.

Now, with that said, don't just blow off these products saying "if they can't get rid of all my personal surfing records then what good are they?" These products actually address the more important half of the issue. The effective ones really do clean up your personal computer! To me this is very important because it's easier for people to get your computer's Internet records, via hacking, tracking or outright theft, than it is for them to get any other type of Internet records.

Want proof? Just ask Gary Glitter, a 1960's pop star who took his personal computer in to have a repair done. The shop found both pictures and other evidence of illegal Internet activity and called the cops! Glitter spent time in jail because he didn't "clean up his act" before he took the computer in for a repair.

The other half of this issue and the one that is a bit more complicated to address is made up of all the records established and held by your ISP (Internet Service Provider), Internet routers (computer "traffic cops" that route Internet requests around the web) and website hosting servers.

These computers are completely outside your scope of influence. You can't just call up your ISP and tell them to delete all records that pertain to your account! Once they are done laughing, they will let you know that to do that they would have to cull through literally millions of records for any given day to pull out your two or three hundred records. The effort would be enormous and they don't have the resources to do this kind of work.

Besides, these logs are used mostly to trouble shoot server / router errors and to help stop hacker abuse and other kinds of DOS (Denial of Service) attacks.

But you can affect the information that gets stored in these logs. To understand this you need to know how the process works. Here are the basic steps:

-You sign on to your ISP.

-Your ISP assigns you an IP (Internet Protocol) address. An IP address is a series of numbers that tell the computer where you are connecting from and who to send information to.

-You type in a web address in your browser and send that request to your ISP.

-Your ISP logs the request, along with your assigned IP address and then goes out to the Internet to request the web page.

-The ISP's request goes through multiple routers, each one logging who made the request and forwarding on the request to the next until it gets to the server hosting the web page.

-The host server logs the request and sends the information back out, often through a completely different set of routers, each one again logging the request and passing it on to the next until it gets back to your ISP.

-Your ISP looks up in it's log who made the initial request and sends it on to you.

-You get the page, a temporary copy is stored on your hard drive.

-You click on a link or enter in a new web address and the process starts all over again!

So for every request you make to your ISP, not only does that request get stored on your computer, it gets stored on a number of other computers as well! Comforting right?

Well there is a way to hide, or mask would be a better term, your web surfing activities. You need to use an anonymous surfing tool. Sites like Anonymizer.com or the-cloak.com offer an online proxy type service that takes advantage of SSL and encryption to keep your surfing tracks to yourself.

All requests made to them through SSL are encrypted so even your ISP can't read what you requested. This secure connection is the same type that ecommerce sites use to protect your credit card data. Then all requests they make for you reference their computers as the originator of the request so all the routers and web host servers see is their IP address! Your personal and or browser information is blocked from the Internet.

So, if you really want to protect your privacy, give the snoopers a one - two punch. Clean up your act by using one of the history / cookie clean up tools available for download AND surf through one of the anonymous surfing providers out on the net.

Michael Ameye has been developing web sites since 1995. He started writing about online privacy issues to answer questions from family, friends and co-workers. Visit http://www.canyourspam.com to see his latest work.

He is also the chief editor of PSS Online, A Privacy, Safety and Security eZine dedicated to bringing important information to people in order to foster a safer more secure environment - online and off. Visit http://www.pssonline.info to subscribe.

In The News:


Kitsap Sun

OC launches investigation of security director
Kitsap Sun
BREMERTON — Olympic College has launched an investigation of complaints against its director of campus safety in light of a vote of no confidence by the union representing security guards. The vote, taken in mid-January, showed 88 percent of members ...


The Sun

Security services knew of glaring weakness in Parliament security after 'war game' simulating attack on Westminster ...
The Sun
SECURITY services were aware of gaps in Parliament's security after a simulated attack ended with most MPs being killed, it has been claimed. A source quoted by the Sunday Times claimed a “table-top” exercise revealed four terrorists with automatic ...
Security chief told MPs they were safe in parliament before attackThe Guardian
Urgent review of security gates of Parliament needed after Westminster attackExpress.co.uk

all 56 news articles »

The Independent

Security breach renders in-flight laptop ban useless
The Independent
The airport which is the main target of the Government's ban on electronic devices has a security flaw that renders rigorous checks futile, The Independent can reveal. After clearing six separate security hurdles at Istanbul airport, passengers bound ...

and more »

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

JCC receives $200,000 to improve security - Democrat and Chronicle
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Funds will be used to upgrade cameras and other measures following two bomb threats at the Brighton facility this month.
JCC of Rochester gets $200,000 for security enhancements | WXXI ...WXXI News

all 4 news articles »

Reuters

Britain reviewing security at parliament after deadly attack
Reuters
Interior minister Amber Rudd told the BBC there would be another review of security at the Palace of Westminster, but that such arrangements were continually assessed. "There are constant reviews and updates so that we have the right form of defense in ...
London attack fuels calls for tighter Westminster securityThe Guardian
London attack: Parliament security under reviewBBC News
Questions over Parliament security as motorcyclist rides through gate shortly after terrorist attackTelegraph.co.uk
Wall Street Journal (subscription)
all 8,418 news articles »

The Japan Times

European security ties 'too precious' for Brexit talks
The Japan Times
LONDON – Britain's intelligence expertise may be “too precious” to use as a bargaining tool in the upcoming Brexit talks, experts said, after a terror attack in London highlighted the need for continued European security cooperation. The suggestion ...

and more »

New System Estimates Cleveland Airport Security Wait Times
U.S. News & World Report
New System Estimates Cleveland Airport Security Wait Times. Cleveland's main airport is developing a system to help travelers more accurately compare wait times at its security checkpoints and better plan their trips. | March 27, 2017, at 12:08 a.m.. MORE.

and more »

Huffington Post

What Don't We Talk About When We Talk About Israel's Security
Huffington Post
When Israeli and American Jews talk about “Israel's security” they are thinking about the Holocaust and about extermination. That is the reason they choose the narrowest possible definition of “security,” a strip. Israel's “security” is what we ...

and more »

Otago Daily Times

Ivory Coast rescinds port security measures, attack threat unfounded
Reuters
"After compiling the information ... it emerged that the threat is not real," the head of maritime security Colonel Bertin Koffi Tano wrote in a second order to the Abidjan and San Pedro port authorities and shipping companies on Sunday. "I ask that ...
Ivory Coast boosts port security over attack threatOtago Daily Times

all 5 news articles »

The Sun

Security alert at Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway as police called amid claims four men broke into the studio
The Sun
An ITV spokesman said: “A youth who attempted to gain access to the London Television Centre, as a prank, at 11pm last night was quickly apprehended by our security team when he triggered an alarm as he climbed an external wall. “He did not gain access ...
Ant and Dec at centre of security alert after four men tried to 'break into' Saturday Night Takeaway studioMirror.co.uk

all 38 news articles »
Google News

Check Out That Privacy Policy

Before you enter your name, address or any other data... Read More

6 Ways To Prevent Identity Theft

These six ways to prevent identity theft offer you valuable... Read More

Online Shoppers, Beware of a New Scam

Beware of a New Scam Aimed at Bargain-HuntersTrying to buy... Read More

Blogs as Safe Haven for Cybercriminals?

To blog or not to blog? Well, why not? Lots... Read More

Traditional Antivirus Programs Useless Against New Unidentified Viruses!

Every now and then you can read about a new... Read More

3 Steps to Ending Scams and Virus Problems

Watching how the traditional media covers the latest virus or... Read More

How To Cover Your Tracks On The Internet

Every single time you access a website, you leave tracks.... Read More

The Risk Of Electronic Fraud & Identity Theft

Electronic Fraud and Identity Theft ----------------------------------- Human beings are pretty... Read More

How Can Someone Get Private Information From My Computer?

From the "Ask Booster" column in the June 17, 2005... Read More

Hacking Threats and Protective Security

The 1998 Data Protection Act was not an extension to,... Read More

Corporate Security for Your Home Business

The words Corporate Security may conjure up images of a... Read More

Watch Out For That Scam

The IFCC (Internet Fraud Complaint Center) received over 200,000 complaint... Read More

How to Protect Your Child from the Internet

When the Internet first came about, it was realized it... Read More

Avoid Internet Theft, Fraud and Phishing

Since its birth, the Internet has grown and expanded to... Read More

How to Fight Spyware

If you are wondering how to fight spyware for safe... Read More

The One Critical Piece Of Free Software Thats Been Overlooked

Can You Prevent Spyware, Worms, Trojans, Viruses, ... To Work... Read More

Clown Internet Scam - An Internet Scam is Currently Targeting Clowns and Other Entertainers

I am the victim of an internet scam. It is... Read More

Backup and Save your business!

There you are busily typing away on your PC or... Read More

Consumers: Shop Online and Get Information Safely

Do you really have to know how feeds work? Not... Read More

How to Manage Your Username and Password The Easy and Secure Way

Have been an Internet user for more than 9 years,... Read More

Computer Viruses - How to Remove a Computer Virus from Your Computer

Computer viruses infect millions of computers every day. Viruses can... Read More

An Open Door To Your Home Wireless Internet Network Security?

This is not some new fangled techno-speak, it is a... Read More

Computer Viruses and Other Nasties: How to Protect Your Computer from These Invaders

Can you protect your computer from all possible viruses and... Read More

Is Shopping Online For Your Horse Gifts Safe?

Shopping for horse gifts or other gift items on the... Read More

Is Your Music Player Spying On You?

In today's times spyware is a very serious issue and... Read More