BobThatcher

Using Pnet In Public

16 posts in this topic

I'm sat in a cafe 'studying'. Obviously, I manage to find time to come on this site and others for a browse. I'm sat in a corner so no-one can see my screen and I'm using the 'incognito' pages, but is there anyway the IT genius that owns this cafe can work out what I'm looking at on his free wifi?

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I don't think your bog standard wireless router log will contain this information, so with a non-genius cafe owner you are probably fine.

If the owner really is an IT genius, I am sure there is network management software you can buy that will be able to log which web pages are accessed by which computer on the network. I sincerely doubt your average cafe wifi will have this type of software.

Does it really matter though ? Your computer you are using to access the wifi will have a temporary IP address assigned when you log onto the cafe's wifi. It is extremely unlikely anybody is going to tie this temporary IP address to you, unless you are there every day browsing away and there aren't many other users of the wifi.

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Using fairly readily available software tools, even another customer sitting in the same cafe as you could view what web sites you are accessing. They could not see the content if you are using SSL (https://) pages and you are watching for any rogue certificate alerts. Standard http pages are also visible. The cafe owner has no greater or lesser ability really.

Some people still don't even set up their home email on their laptops/mobiles to use SSL, though some smartphones do now default to it and some ISPs do now insist on it when accessing email outside of your home broadband. For once Gmail has a benefit here as it uses SSL web pages.

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I have found lots of free wifi and even some paid for service actively block this site.

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I have found lots of free wifi and even some paid for service actively block this site.

I think over the next few yrs we'll see more censorship from unelected faceless bureaucrats; although it will creep in gradually, so hardly anyone will notice. Then one day you'll be arrested for visiting a site deemed 'inappropriate' due to complaints from users of mumsnet, backed by Harriet Harm-man.

It will eventually be effectively like China.

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I think over the next few yrs we'll see more censorship from unelected faceless bureaucrats; although it will creep in gradually, so hardly anyone will notice. Then one day you'll be arrested for visiting a site deemed 'inappropriate' due to complaints from users of mumsnet, backed by Harriet Harm-man.

It will eventually be effectively like China.

Agreed, we are heading only one-way sadly, a completely Big Brother society as in Orwells 1984 with 24/7 survellience which will be sold on the "if you arent doing anything wrong whats the problem" basis. Who knows when we will reach that stage but its inevitable we will in my opinion one day.

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I do not know for sure - but there is probably a way that the domain server can, but I doubt if the owner will be pursing this route.

However, you could give the game away that you are up to something by you acting nervously and/or suspiciously through your body language.

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In situations like this can't you use Tor Browser or Hide My Ass ? Do these provide the anonymity they suggest they do ?

As far as anyone looking over my shoulder I always think the layout of this forum (luckily) resembles some of the car forums I go on and not having 'punternet' emblazoned all over the page they really have no idea what I'm looking at.

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Agreed, we are heading only one-way sadly, a completely Big Brother society as in Orwells 1984 with 24/7 survellience which will be sold on the "if you arent doing anything wrong whats the problem" basis. Who knows when we will reach that stage but its inevitable we will in my opinion one day.

There is already legistlation being drawn up to make ISP block all sexual content porn, etc(including messages boards like this one) by default and if you want to see it you have to specifically ask for it or register yourself as a person who wishes to see sexual content.This is supposed to be to "safeguard children" .Obviously not parents responsiblity to ensure your children arent watching crap on the internet!

http://www.guardian....zey?INTCMP=SRCH

Edited by willsmith

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It depends.

I think most Internet cafes would have some kind of Web monitoring software. How else could they know if somebody was surfing on illegal sites or offensive sites? It's also good CYA, in the event that the police or other authorities want to investigate.

I seldom go on PN in public, for this reason alone. Not that paid sex is illegal, but as its an adult-oriented site, it doesn't make sense.

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I don't think your bog standard wireless router log will contain this information, so with a non-genius cafe owner you are probably fine.

If the owner really is an IT genius, I am sure there is network management software you can buy that will be able to log which web pages are accessed by which computer on the network. I sincerely doubt your average cafe wifi will have this type of software.

Does it really matter though ? Your computer you are using to access the wifi will have a temporary IP address assigned when you log onto the cafe's wifi. It is extremely unlikely anybody is going to tie this temporary IP address to you, unless you are there every day browsing away and there aren't many other users of the wifi.

But it would be linked to the cafe's public IP address, and with Web monitoring one can see which private IP address is doing. The basic fact that the police or whoever would link it back to a public IP address means that many cafes would limit Web access.

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But it would be linked to the cafe's public IP address, and with Web monitoring one can see which private IP address is doing. The basic fact that the police or whoever would link it back to a public IP address means that many cafes would limit Web access.

Yup, agree with that, which is why businesses who offer wifi access to the public should monitor what their users are doing. I bet most don't though.

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Using fairly readily available software tools, even another customer sitting in the same cafe as you could view what web sites you are accessing. They could not see the content if you are using SSL (https://) pages and you are watching for any rogue certificate alerts.

Unfortunately, SSL is often vulnerable to bugs that mean that others can see what you are browsing even then. For example, these:

http://www.thoughtcrime.org/software/sslsniff/

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In situations like this can't you use Tor Browser or Hide My Ass ? Do these provide the anonymity they suggest they do ?

Hide My Ass sells VPN service, which will protect you from the cafe and its occupants, but not from requests from the police - and perhaps other organisations - to the company "Hide My Ass". VPN does that on a low level, so it sidesteps the complexities of the web that often cause web security measures to fail. So it's quite suitable for this purpose.

Tor, on the other hand, is designed to be resistant to attacks from anybody - except for agencies like NSA that have a global view of traffic. Does it provide the anonymity it claims to? Nobody can answer that for sure of course - in fact at any given time there are almost bound to be significant flaws - but tor is widely thought to be the best that's available. You are probably more likely to break it yourself by using it inappropriately, so you should read the tor web site carefully if you want to avoid that.

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To be honest I never gave a toss.When I was working it was my job so I used to log in whenever and wherever, I really couldnt have cared less if some faceless, nameless person walked past and saw what I was looking at,its none of their damnable business and they shouldnt be snooping over your shoulder looking at what you have on your laptop screen anyway,lets face it, to really see they would have to stop and stare which is as bad as reading someones text message over their shoulder. I dont think anyone is really that interested in seeing which sites people using their cafe broadband are on tbh.

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I'm also unconcerned in Internet Cafes and even on the train where I'm sure the sites I look at are traceable back to my login. I'm not looking at anything illegal. For the benefit of passers by I always ensure there are no children who could look over my shoulder and generally I don't work full screen and try and avoid graphic images on my screen. If you have access to browser settings you can always set images off so you get text only. I used to have a fancy way of forcing Internet Explorer to mono.

The problem I have that I have mentioned earlier is to modify my browsing habits when I am connected via VPN to another office. Always double check where I'm printing or downloading now!

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