Ferdia2010's Weblog

Gerard's blog

Who’s reading your email ?

with 4 comments

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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Written by ferdia2010

September 29, 2008 at 1:58 am

4 Responses

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  1. Very interesting piece. Many thanks for bringing it to our attention.
    I had heard of the matter previously, but not in such detail. I believe there are legal provisions made in the USA and the UK for the State to intercept and read people’s e-mails and other internet activities.
    But I have no idea what the legal situation is in Ireland. Could you enlighten us on that as well? It would be most kind of you and much appreciated.

    Emerald Islander

    September 25, 2008 at 2:27 am

  2. I will look into it for you….

    ferdia2010

    September 25, 2008 at 7:04 pm

  3. You say “all of which have the potenial to read your data” well thats not to say they actually do, I am not contradicting you but as I see it maybe the potential is there, don`t government departments actually have something better to do.
    If they got thereselves going with terrorists and the like that would be more productive, but dear John emails and the amount of rubbish most people visit are not actually a security risk.
    Now if its got anything to do with making money thats a different matter and thats usually why ISP`s and the government would want to use these measures.

    heikoworld

    February 9, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    • They can if they want heikoworld, thats the point i’m making

      ferdia2010

      February 10, 2009 at 7:48 pm


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