" ITREALMS: A note on privacy


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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A note on privacy

Market intelligence:

Using a packet sniffer could capture all of the traffic passing by your computer including all of the communications, and potentially communications of other users on the same network; if your computer is connected to a wireless network, for example, the packet sniffer may record everything you do and everything everyone else on the wireless network does on-line.

Please do not record other people’s communications without their consent. Doing so is impolite and, under some circumstances, may be prohibited by law. One way to avoid recording third parties’ communications is to avoid using promiscuous mode for your packet capture, unless you specifically need it.

If you produce a capture file (packet trace) with evidence of the results of your experiment, please be aware that the capture file will reveal your IP address, the IP address of the other person involved, and a complete record of everything you did on-line during the course of the experiment.

For example, if you downloaded a file, the packet trace will typically reveal which file (and even include the full contents of that file).

If you browsed the web or checked your e-mail while the packet sniffer was running, the identities and contents of web pages you visited and e-mail messages you downloaded may appear in the packet trace.

In addition, any HTTP cookies sent by your browser, which might include your username and password for web sites you visited, would be included in the trace. You should exercise caution when publishing or sharing a packet capture file to ensure that you don’t reveal more information than you intended.

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