August 05, 2012
Why hiding your IP address is silly
A fellow member of my local Mac User Group, responding to a query about "Broken SSH and STSS" — hey, don't go there, I have no idea what either stands for, nor (by definition) do any of my compadres in TechnoDolt®™© Nation — from another user group member yesterday, closed with the following:
What is the concern people have about protecting their IP address? You aren't really protecting yourself from anything and I'll show you why: "view headers" in your email program or "show original" in gmail. Notice the following header:
You can't connect to the internet without exposing your IP address. (Anonomizers like "Tor" aside, which I'd bet none of the people "hiding" their IP addresses actually bother to use.) If you've used a webmail client, you've given the webserver not just your IP address but also information like what browser you're using on what OS, plus whatever they've decided to store in your "cookies."
So, unless you're truly paranoid (in which case, you should be using Tor and taking many other measures to filter your own access to the online world), hiding your IP address just seems silly to me.
August 5, 2012 at 02:01 PM | Permalink
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If you have the need to hide your IP address then proxies or Tor are your best options. While Gmail doesn't always reveal your IP, Google certainly knows where a message came from (and not just network-wise, Google also can determine approximate location through GeoIP).
Might not be something most people even know about, let alone think about, unless you're trying to get news out to a wider world from a country that is hunting down dissidents.
Posted by: tm | Aug 6, 2012 5:52:25 PM
Jeff: read that again.
"Gmail may hide sender IP address information from outgoing mail headers in some circumstances." (Emphasis mine).
That's not something I would depend on.
(That said, I just ran an experiment and I noticed my IP address was not included. But while it's nice that Google aren't telling others my IP, they still know it. And that's scary.)
Posted by: Nathan | Aug 6, 2012 2:28:51 PM
There are times when I don't want to leave my IP address behind. I typically use a proxy server outside of the US and come out of the proxy server into TOR and out of TOR back to a different proxy server. It may seem like a lot of work, but it is easily accomplished and that second proxy server disguises the fact that I use TOR. It is slow, but not even my ISP knows where I've been (the link to the first proxy server is SSL) after entering that first proxy.
Check out Daveproxy in the UK. No, they don't have the bandwidth available to let you use the BBC iPlayer (but, several PAID proxy servers will provide you with that bandwidth...).
Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Aug 6, 2012 11:38:38 AM
IPs are not visible if the sender is using gmail's web interface.
Posted by: Jeff | Aug 6, 2012 10:54:17 AM
I just want to be able to watch U.S. clips outside the U.S.! Why do they have to know I am? :-P
Posted by: Carol Feldman | Aug 6, 2012 2:16:36 AM
Every time you connect to a remote server (via a web browser, email client, instant messaging client, or whatever), your IP address is given to that remote server. For peer-to-peer applications such as BitTorrent, you may not even know to whom you are giving your address!
Encrypted protocols like SSH can protect what you're saying to the remote server, but they won't do anything to mask who you are (i.e. your IP address).
The only way to avoid this is to use a proxy to connect on your behalf, such as the abovementioned Tor.
Them's the breaks.
Posted by: Nathan | Aug 5, 2012 2:54:51 PM
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