repost of who’s reading your email September 29th 2008

Or how the state listens in on your computer.

This is a topic of an interest of mine and I have wanted to put up a post on it for some time. Not many people realise that the State can “tap” your computer and record all your going’s on. A brief explanation of how the Internet works and why it is a unsecure medium is required.

As you can gather, the Internet is a series of interconnected networks (this is done by using standard communication protocols). The Internet works by breaking down files into packets which contain both the sender and recipients Internet Protocol (I.P) addresses. These packets are then moved around by specialised computers called Routers which determine the most appropriate route. Your data passes through a number of third party routers, all of which have the potenial to read your data. A computer which is set up to intercept data is know as a packet sniffer. These can be programmed to intercept traffic from certain users etc..

A Packet sniffer located at your ISP would be able to monitor all of your online activities such as

  • What websites you visit.
  • What you look at.
  • Where you send email and what is in the email.
  • What you download.
  • Who visits your site.
  • Other forms of internet communications such as instant messaging, internet phone calls etc..

The most famous Packet Sniffer is one developed by the F.B.I called Carnivore and the later version called Omnivore. This system is configured with the suspect’s IP address, it intercepts and copies all data coming from and to the suspect’s computer.

Interesting sources of information are

more to follow…

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