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Phillip Shaver 10-02-2003 07:20 PM

Just how anonymous are my Usenet postings?
 
How can anyone really tell if my Usenet postings are really from me or not?

If I use a fake email address (like so many do), is there another way to
find out one's identity (from headers, TCPIP addresses, etc.)?



Bert Hyman 10-02-2003 07:32 PM

Re: Just how anonymous are my Usenet postings?
 
In news:IT_eb.37973$gv5.15439@fed1read05 "Phillip Shaver"
<pshaver494@aa.com> wrote:

> How can anyone really tell if my Usenet postings are really from me or
> not?
>
> If I use a fake email address (like so many do), is there another way to
> find out one's identity (from headers, TCPIP addresses, etc.)?


As you're currently hooked up, someone who ->really wanted to know who you
were would contact Cox Communications, maybe with a subpoena in hand, and
ask who was using IP address "68.4.17.224" at "Thu, 02 Oct 2003 15:20:08
EDT".

If you're seriously interested in posting to USENET anonymously, there are
mail-to-news services that will do it for you. They claim to be configured
in such a way that even the operators of the service don't know who you
are, so there's no record to be turned over to authorities.

--
Bert Hyman St. Paul, MN bert@visi.com

Phillip Shaver 10-02-2003 07:41 PM

Re: Just how anonymous are my Usenet postings?
 
No, I'm not worried about a subpoena or anything like that, just an
obnoxious user in a very non-adult newsgroup I visit. I'm sure the CIA,
FBI, NSA or even local PD could find anyone if they really wanted to, but my
concerns are not nearly that important!

Where did you get "68.4.17.224" at "Thu, 02 Oct 2003 15:20:08 EDT"? Is that
me, and if so, how does one find that?



"Bert Hyman" <bert@visi.com> wrote in message
news:Xns940894146C83DVeebleFetzer@209.98.13.60...
> In news:IT_eb.37973$gv5.15439@fed1read05 "Phillip Shaver"
> <pshaver494@aa.com> wrote:
>
> > How can anyone really tell if my Usenet postings are really from me or
> > not?
> >
> > If I use a fake email address (like so many do), is there another way to
> > find out one's identity (from headers, TCPIP addresses, etc.)?

>
> As you're currently hooked up, someone who ->really wanted to know who you
> were would contact Cox Communications, maybe with a subpoena in hand, and
> ask who was using IP address "68.4.17.224" at "Thu, 02 Oct 2003 15:20:08
> EDT".
>
> If you're seriously interested in posting to USENET anonymously, there are
> mail-to-news services that will do it for you. They claim to be configured
> in such a way that even the operators of the service don't know who you
> are, so there's no record to be turned over to authorities.
>
> --
> Bert Hyman St. Paul, MN bert@visi.com




Juan R. Pollo 10-02-2003 07:42 PM

Re: Just how anonymous are my Usenet postings?
 

"Bert Hyman" <bert@visi.com> wrote in message
news:Xns940894146C83DVeebleFetzer@209.98.13.60...
> In news:IT_eb.37973$gv5.15439@fed1read05 "Phillip Shaver"
> <pshaver494@aa.com> wrote:
>
> As you're currently hooked up, someone who ->really wanted to know who you
> were would contact Cox Communications, maybe with a subpoena in hand, and
> ask who was using IP address "68.4.17.224" at "Thu, 02 Oct 2003 15:20:08
> EDT".


Actually, all that would show is that the message came from a particular
connection, not who the author or sender were.

Juan


Bert Hyman 10-02-2003 07:53 PM

Re: Just how anonymous are my Usenet postings?
 
In news:Wb%eb.38023$gv5.37925@fed1read05 "Phillip Shaver"
<pshaver494@aa.com> wrote:

> No, I'm not worried about a subpoena or anything like that, just an
> obnoxious user in a very non-adult newsgroup I visit. I'm sure the CIA,
> FBI, NSA or even local PD could find anyone if they really wanted to,
> but my concerns are not nearly that important!
>
> Where did you get "68.4.17.224" at "Thu, 02 Oct 2003 15:20:08 EDT"? Is
> that me, and if so, how does one find that?


Yes, that's you. Every post you make via your COX.NET news server has a
number of headers inserted by them, one of which is

X-Trace: fed1read05 1065123702 68.4.17.224 (Thu, 02 Oct 2003 15:41:42 EDT)

The IP address is yours; the date and time are when you made the post. The
other stuff is probably encoded information to make it even easier for
them to figure out which of their customers you are :-)

There's also:

Date: Thu, 2 Oct 2003 12:41:40 -0700
NNTP-Posting-Host: 68.4.17.224

but that's redundant so long as the X-Trace header is there.

None of that, as such, can tell a casual observer exactly who you are.

Someone who knows how Cox names their network nodes might be able to get a
general fix on your location, since your node name is
ip68-4-17-224.oc.oc.cox.net, and I suspect that the "oc" part is a
geographic designation.

If the IP address is static (or relatively long lived) a casual observer
can "collect" posts from that IP address and maybe form some sort of
profile of you, but unless you reveal a lot of personal info in your
posts, that's not too dangerous.

> "Bert Hyman" <bert@visi.com> wrote in message
> news:Xns940894146C83DVeebleFetzer@209.98.13.60...
>> In news:IT_eb.37973$gv5.15439@fed1read05 "Phillip Shaver"
>> <pshaver494@aa.com> wrote:
>>
>> > How can anyone really tell if my Usenet postings are really from me
>> > or not?
>> >
>> > If I use a fake email address (like so many do), is there another way
>> > to find out one's identity (from headers, TCPIP addresses, etc.)?

>>
>> As you're currently hooked up, someone who ->really wanted to know who
>> you were would contact Cox Communications, maybe with a subpoena in
>> hand, and ask who was using IP address "68.4.17.224" at "Thu, 02 Oct
>> 2003 15:20:08 EDT".
>>
>> If you're seriously interested in posting to USENET anonymously, there
>> are mail-to-news services that will do it for you. They claim to be
>> configured in such a way that even the operators of the service don't
>> know who you are, so there's no record to be turned over to
>> authorities.



--
Bert Hyman St. Paul, MN bert@visi.com

Bert Hyman 10-02-2003 07:57 PM

Re: Just how anonymous are my Usenet postings?
 
In news:Tc%eb.167160$3o3.12089431@bgtnsc05-news.ops.worldnet.att.net "Juan
R. Pollo" <jrpollo@worldnet.att.net> wrote:

> Actually, all that would show is that the message came from a particular
> connection, not who the author or sender were.


True, but once they know the owner of the account under which the
connection was made, that's when the thumb screws come out :-)

--
Bert Hyman St. Paul, MN bert@visi.com

Phillip Shaver 10-02-2003 07:57 PM

Re: Just how anonymous are my Usenet postings?
 
Thanks, Bert. How does one find these headers? I use Outlook Express for
newsgroup access.


"Bert Hyman" <bert@visi.com> wrote in message
news:Xns9408979D68534VeebleFetzer@209.98.13.60...
> In news:Wb%eb.38023$gv5.37925@fed1read05 "Phillip Shaver"
> <pshaver494@aa.com> wrote:
>
> > No, I'm not worried about a subpoena or anything like that, just an
> > obnoxious user in a very non-adult newsgroup I visit. I'm sure the CIA,
> > FBI, NSA or even local PD could find anyone if they really wanted to,
> > but my concerns are not nearly that important!
> >
> > Where did you get "68.4.17.224" at "Thu, 02 Oct 2003 15:20:08 EDT"? Is
> > that me, and if so, how does one find that?

>
> Yes, that's you. Every post you make via your COX.NET news server has a
> number of headers inserted by them, one of which is
>
> X-Trace: fed1read05 1065123702 68.4.17.224 (Thu, 02 Oct 2003 15:41:42 EDT)
>
> The IP address is yours; the date and time are when you made the post. The
> other stuff is probably encoded information to make it even easier for
> them to figure out which of their customers you are :-)
>
> There's also:
>
> Date: Thu, 2 Oct 2003 12:41:40 -0700
> NNTP-Posting-Host: 68.4.17.224
>
> but that's redundant so long as the X-Trace header is there.
>
> None of that, as such, can tell a casual observer exactly who you are.
>
> Someone who knows how Cox names their network nodes might be able to get a
> general fix on your location, since your node name is
> ip68-4-17-224.oc.oc.cox.net, and I suspect that the "oc" part is a
> geographic designation.
>
> If the IP address is static (or relatively long lived) a casual observer
> can "collect" posts from that IP address and maybe form some sort of
> profile of you, but unless you reveal a lot of personal info in your
> posts, that's not too dangerous.
>
> > "Bert Hyman" <bert@visi.com> wrote in message
> > news:Xns940894146C83DVeebleFetzer@209.98.13.60...
> >> In news:IT_eb.37973$gv5.15439@fed1read05 "Phillip Shaver"
> >> <pshaver494@aa.com> wrote:
> >>
> >> > How can anyone really tell if my Usenet postings are really from me
> >> > or not?
> >> >
> >> > If I use a fake email address (like so many do), is there another way
> >> > to find out one's identity (from headers, TCPIP addresses, etc.)?
> >>
> >> As you're currently hooked up, someone who ->really wanted to know who
> >> you were would contact Cox Communications, maybe with a subpoena in
> >> hand, and ask who was using IP address "68.4.17.224" at "Thu, 02 Oct
> >> 2003 15:20:08 EDT".
> >>
> >> If you're seriously interested in posting to USENET anonymously, there
> >> are mail-to-news services that will do it for you. They claim to be
> >> configured in such a way that even the operators of the service don't
> >> know who you are, so there's no record to be turned over to
> >> authorities.

>
>
> --
> Bert Hyman St. Paul, MN bert@visi.com




Mark Roberts 10-02-2003 08:00 PM

Re: Just how anonymous are my Usenet postings?
 
"Juan R. Pollo" <jrpollo@worldnet.att.net> wrote:

>"Bert Hyman" wrote:
>> "Phillip Shaver" wrote:
>>
>> As you're currently hooked up, someone who ->really wanted to know who you
>> were would contact Cox Communications, maybe with a subpoena in hand, and
>> ask who was using IP address "68.4.17.224" at "Thu, 02 Oct 2003 15:20:08
>> EDT".

>
>Actually, all that would show is that the message came from a particular
>connection, not who the author or sender were.


But Cox's server logs would show who was using that IP address at the
time of the post. A quick check with Cox' billing department would yield
name, address, credit card #, etc. ;-)

Besides using anonymous remailers, it's also possible to connect through
open proxy servers (how spammers typically conceal the true origin of
their spam). Technically illegal but also practically untraceable.

--
Mark Roberts
Photography and writing
www.robertstech.com

Sam Smith 10-02-2003 08:06 PM

Re: Just how anonymous are my Usenet postings?
 
But Cox's server logs, name, address, credit card numbers would not be
accessible by non-law enforcement people, right?


"Mark Roberts" <mark@robertstech.com> wrote in message
news:qt%eb.20291$541.11385@nwrdny02.gnilink.net...
> "Juan R. Pollo" <jrpollo@worldnet.att.net> wrote:
>
> >"Bert Hyman" wrote:
> >> "Phillip Shaver" wrote:
> >>
> >> As you're currently hooked up, someone who ->really wanted to know who

you
> >> were would contact Cox Communications, maybe with a subpoena in hand,

and
> >> ask who was using IP address "68.4.17.224" at "Thu, 02 Oct 2003

15:20:08
> >> EDT".

> >
> >Actually, all that would show is that the message came from a particular
> >connection, not who the author or sender were.

>
> But Cox's server logs would show who was using that IP address at the
> time of the post. A quick check with Cox' billing department would yield
> name, address, credit card #, etc. ;-)
>
> Besides using anonymous remailers, it's also possible to connect through
> open proxy servers (how spammers typically conceal the true origin of
> their spam). Technically illegal but also practically untraceable.
>
> --
> Mark Roberts
> Photography and writing
> www.robertstech.com




Sam Smith 10-02-2003 08:08 PM

Re: Just how anonymous are my Usenet postings?
 
So, Bert, if I change my "Phillip" fake name to this "Sam" fame name (and
email address), you're saying the header info is the same? Again, where
does one find the header info?


"Phillip Shaver" <pshaver494@aa.com> wrote in message
news:Rq%eb.38043$gv5.4373@fed1read05...
> Thanks, Bert. How does one find these headers? I use Outlook Express for
> newsgroup access.
>
>
> "Bert Hyman" <bert@visi.com> wrote in message
> news:Xns9408979D68534VeebleFetzer@209.98.13.60...
> > In news:Wb%eb.38023$gv5.37925@fed1read05 "Phillip Shaver"
> > <pshaver494@aa.com> wrote:
> >
> > > No, I'm not worried about a subpoena or anything like that, just an
> > > obnoxious user in a very non-adult newsgroup I visit. I'm sure the

CIA,
> > > FBI, NSA or even local PD could find anyone if they really wanted to,
> > > but my concerns are not nearly that important!
> > >
> > > Where did you get "68.4.17.224" at "Thu, 02 Oct 2003 15:20:08 EDT"?

Is
> > > that me, and if so, how does one find that?

> >
> > Yes, that's you. Every post you make via your COX.NET news server has a
> > number of headers inserted by them, one of which is
> >
> > X-Trace: fed1read05 1065123702 68.4.17.224 (Thu, 02 Oct 2003 15:41:42

EDT)
> >
> > The IP address is yours; the date and time are when you made the post.

The
> > other stuff is probably encoded information to make it even easier for
> > them to figure out which of their customers you are :-)
> >
> > There's also:
> >
> > Date: Thu, 2 Oct 2003 12:41:40 -0700
> > NNTP-Posting-Host: 68.4.17.224
> >
> > but that's redundant so long as the X-Trace header is there.
> >
> > None of that, as such, can tell a casual observer exactly who you are.
> >
> > Someone who knows how Cox names their network nodes might be able to get

a
> > general fix on your location, since your node name is
> > ip68-4-17-224.oc.oc.cox.net, and I suspect that the "oc" part is a
> > geographic designation.
> >
> > If the IP address is static (or relatively long lived) a casual observer
> > can "collect" posts from that IP address and maybe form some sort of
> > profile of you, but unless you reveal a lot of personal info in your
> > posts, that's not too dangerous.
> >
> > > "Bert Hyman" <bert@visi.com> wrote in message
> > > news:Xns940894146C83DVeebleFetzer@209.98.13.60...
> > >> In news:IT_eb.37973$gv5.15439@fed1read05 "Phillip Shaver"
> > >> <pshaver494@aa.com> wrote:
> > >>
> > >> > How can anyone really tell if my Usenet postings are really from me
> > >> > or not?
> > >> >
> > >> > If I use a fake email address (like so many do), is there another

way
> > >> > to find out one's identity (from headers, TCPIP addresses, etc.)?
> > >>
> > >> As you're currently hooked up, someone who ->really wanted to know

who
> > >> you were would contact Cox Communications, maybe with a subpoena in
> > >> hand, and ask who was using IP address "68.4.17.224" at "Thu, 02 Oct
> > >> 2003 15:20:08 EDT".
> > >>
> > >> If you're seriously interested in posting to USENET anonymously,

there
> > >> are mail-to-news services that will do it for you. They claim to be
> > >> configured in such a way that even the operators of the service don't
> > >> know who you are, so there's no record to be turned over to
> > >> authorities.

> >
> >
> > --
> > Bert Hyman St. Paul, MN bert@visi.com

>
>





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