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Can My Internet Provider Watch My Actions On The Internet?

#1 User is offline   arcticsid 

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 03:18 AM

My friend insists his internet provider can sit at a screen in some mountain hideaway and see every move he makes on the internet, including collecting his private passwords, his banking info, etc.

I know internet security is an issue, but that isnt my question.

Can a provider, or anyone, literally, sit back, and watch a screen, and see everything you are doing at any given time?

He is so worried that he has a half a dozen security programs running at the same time, and now he wonders why his computer is slow and often locks up.
Thoughts?
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#2 User is offline   Flashorn 

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 03:30 AM

Hey Troy !

Well. in one word yes but, unless you are targeted by the authorities, I don't think they have the time or care about what sites you visit
on the net. Unless you are Torrenting Illegal material (child porn or copyrighted material) and the authorities suspect you are doing this
then they can subpena the ISP for your home address from the IP address they have harvested. There's allot more to this but, basically
yes they can. Hackers and Trojans can do allot more damage and harvesting than your ISP could.

Are you or is your friend doing something illegal online :lol:



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This post has been edited by Flashorn: 09 August 2012 - 03:31 AM

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#3 User is offline   coastie65 

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 06:46 AM

Hey Sid, To add to what Flash has said, yes, they can track your activity by the IP / URL of the sites you have visited. Unless you have Remote Access enabled, they will not be able to look over your shoulder as it were. As a rule the authorities will Monitor and illegal site to see who is accessing it and the activity of of that person. Your friend is far too paranoid and all that security is hurting rather than helping him.
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#4 User is offline   mjd420nova 

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 09:01 AM

Most would think that an ISP's snooping into your data stream would be a huge endeavor but it is actually pretty easy, but who do they target and why? I have enough diagnostic hardware that I can "snoop" into a data stream and pull out whatever I want from any device on my network. Do I use it, No, I trust my network users and have no reason to snoop. The ISP could do it too but thay generally have much more pressing matters. At the direction of the proper authority, thay can and will single out one user and collect anything they need. Many ISPs will not even reveal what particular user is attached to a certain address but will when directed to by any authority with that power. Why is this user so worried?? If you are a law abiding citizen, you have nothing to worry about.
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#5 User is offline   arcticsid 

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 11:26 AM

View Postmjd420nova, on 09 August 2012 - 09:01 AM, said:

Most would think that an ISP's snooping into your data stream would be a huge endeavor but it is actually pretty easy, but who do they target and why? I have enough diagnostic hardware that I can "snoop" into a data stream and pull out whatever I want from any device on my network. Do I use it, No, I trust my network users and have no reason to snoop. The ISP could do it too but thay generally have much more pressing matters. At the direction of the proper authority, thay can and will single out one user and collect anything they need. Many ISPs will not even reveal what particular user is attached to a certain address but will when directed to by any authority with that power. Why is this user so worried?? If you are a law abiding citizen, you have nothing to worry about.

Let me clarify something right now!
No, no and no.

I have nothing to hide nor does my paranoid friend, but, I have always wondered if this is really possible.

Guess I will have to stop communicating with the Chinese about those fake Olympic medals I was going to hack over the internet.

Thanks alot, you just ruined my day! LOL.

His identity was hacked over the internet and fraudulent charges made to his credit card, so he got me thinking just how secure I was myself. Thats why I asked this question.

Illegal activity? Brother, if I found a nickle in your driveway I would give it back to you!

:D
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#6 User is offline   Dellinsp531 

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 01:04 PM

It is pretty easy for ISP to snoop. All data streams are be captured and monitored by ISP. Most are monitored by computers and send alerts to people if they find something.
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#7 User is offline   LiveBrianD 

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 03:03 PM

Did your brother use a password like '12345' or 'password'? A security breach on another site he used his credit card on could do it. (Using the same password you use for your bank elsewhere is also a problem.) It could also be malware on the machine. Phishing scams are another.
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#8 User is offline   LincolnSpector 

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 03:11 PM

Hey, folks. I've been doing some research on this subject.

Your Internet service provider tracks what IP addresses youcontact, which effective means they know the web sites you're visiting. Theycan also read anything you send over the Internet that isn't encrypted. Whetherthey actually do that is an open question.

According to Dan Auerbach, a Staff Technologist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, they collectmostly metadata. This includes allrelevant IP addresses and port numbers. With a little bit of work, thisinformation can tell them who you're communicating with and help them make aneducated guess about whether you visited a Web page or sent e-mail. As Auerbachexplained in a phone conversation with me, they're tracking "who you'resending mail to but not the content."

So what about content? Can they see what pages on that Website you visited, and what you wrote in that e-mail? Yes, they can, if theychoose to do so. But there are legal limits. For instance, in the United States,they can only share content with the government (I'll let you decide if youfind that comforting).

On the other hand, there are no such restrictions on withwhom they can share metadata. There's "a lot of opacity surrounding whatthey actually do," says Auerbach. "It's difficult to know what agiven ISP is doing with the data." Privacy policies, of course, are seldomwritten to be clear and understandable.

How long do they retain the information? "Roughly betweensix months and two years," estimates Auerbach.

What can you do about it?

First, embrase any technology that encrypts the data for itsInternet travel. If you need privacy, use Secure Socket Layer (SSL) or avirtual private network (VPN). And find a way to encryptsensitive email.

If you're really paranoid, you might want to consider Tor, a free program and service thatmakes it much more difficult to track what you're doing online. For moreinformation, see TorNetwork Cloaks Your Browsing From Prying Eyes.

Lincoln


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#9 User is offline   snorg 

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 02:09 AM

Every move you make, everything you do, everything you say, everything you think is monitored and logged.

They can even predict what you are going to do next.

We are all slaves living on a prison planet.

Wake up and smell the coffee.

This post has been edited by snorg: 30 August 2012 - 02:12 AM

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#10 User is offline   michaelrantowski 

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 10:17 PM

Internet service providers like Terago Networks, which the one I am using, can watch all your steps if needed. But they don't care about all their users data. They may be monitoring if some unusual activities are going on with the your connection like downloading prohibited contents, etc. But when using proxy through a Virtual Private Network, all your data flow will be encrypted so that even the service provider can't determine what data you are accessing. Although its costly, it will provide maximum security to your data transmission.
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#11 User is offline   waldojim 

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 11:36 AM

View Postarcticsid, on 09 August 2012 - 03:18 AM, said:

My friend insists his internet provider can sit at a screen in some mountain hideaway and see every move he makes on the internet, including collecting his private passwords, his banking info, etc.

I know internet security is an issue, but that isnt my question.

Can a provider, or anyone, literally, sit back, and watch a screen, and see everything you are doing at any given time?

He is so worried that he has a half a dozen security programs running at the same time, and now he wonders why his computer is slow and often locks up.
Thoughts?

Theoretically, yes. I have seen some of these tools in action. The problem is, why would they?

Consider for a moment, that the average person uses their internet for Facebook, email, and other generally boring things. Then figure that the average switch is dealing with anything from 100,000 to over 2 million customers. Lastly, consider that you have to capture the raw data, and reconstruct something usable out of it. The point is, this is a time consuming process with more false positives than it is worth. Especially when the people that have this access are already very likely to be quite busy, nevermind monitored by people with much larger paychecks that are willing to fire them at any moment for doing things like that.

TL;DR
Yes they can, but it isn't likely to actually be done.
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#12 User is offline   waldojim 

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 11:45 AM

View Postmjd420nova, on 09 August 2012 - 09:01 AM, said:

Why is this user so worried?? If you are a law abiding citizen, you have nothing to worry about.

I really dislike this argument. That is never the answer to people wanting privacy. That marginalizes basic rights. This should never be used as an excuse to limit peoples natural rights. /soapbox

View PostLincolnSpector, on 29 August 2012 - 03:11 PM, said:

On the other hand, there are no such restrictions on withwhom they can share metadata. There's "a lot of opacity surrounding whatthey actually do," says Auerbach. "It's difficult to know what agiven ISP is doing with the data." Privacy policies, of course, are seldomwritten to be clear and understandable.

I thought it would be worth noting, that they can, and sometimes will, watch the user data to look for network problems. If a user isn't being registered correctly, having QoS problems, etc, then they will take the time internally to watch the actual data to troubleshoot. This may be done with or without user permission. Point again, is that they to have the capability to watch user data, though it really isn't worth taking the time to do so in most cases. The metadata usually has more than enough of the information to troubleshoot.

I realize most of this info is a tad late, but I just saw it due it being brought to the front. Either way, this was a good question brought up by Sid, and I think it is sad that there isn't better/more information available.
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