06-02-2003, 03:31 PM #1
Think your identity is safe? Be careful what you reveal.
This may or may not belong here, but as it is the most read forum and I feel this message needs to get out, I've made the decision to place it here, perhaps inappropriately. Anyway, I've been meaning to post this for some time, and now seems apporpriate given Max's urging for people to fill out their profiles and it being the graduation season (wherein people often mention their schools).
I want to share a story about two members I've come to know through PM's and AIM. They post here occassionally but mostly just read and learn (they are both registered members though...one may even be a senior member). I mentioned to each that, some time back, I had edited my birthday out of not only my profile, but all of my posts as well as a result of a little experiment of mine. In this experiment, using ONLY material available from my profile and posts, I was able to ascertain my real identity quite easily by going to my school's website and searching a database available TO THE PUBLIC, not just students. From there, as a result of figuring out the name (or, the chance of the name being correct as the only other match was a female), I was able to type my full name and college name into google, which returned a nice hit of my last dean's list recognition submission to my local newspaper. Contained in that blurb were all of basic details of my life: parents' names, grandmother's name, home address, high school I attended, year I graduated high school, etc, etc.
With the permission of these two individuals (both college students as well), I was able to determine their real identities within an afternoon, with no more information than was available in their posts and profile! From there, it's relatively simple to repeat the steps I did in my experiment with my own identity search and find out MUCH, MUCH more about them.
I don't mean to alarm anyone, and YES it is still a good idea to fill out your profile. However, I think that it is necessary to keep in mind at ALL TIMES that, although one of the greatest appeals of this board is the closeness between those of us who have been on some time, our post archives and profiles are available to ALL...including the guy who just signed up ten minutes ago. As I and the other two individuals were all college students, I think this warning is most directed at students, as our schools, in an effort to seem friendly and accessible, often make basic student information too available...particularly in the case of athletes (as one of these individuals was in fact an athlete). That being said, it certainly applies to all of us to some degree.
06-02-2003, 03:40 PM #2
BUMP good post bro, makes you wonder............
06-02-2003, 03:42 PM #3
Good message BG. Its unfortunate that we need to be aware of stuff like that, but as we all know it is necessary too.
06-02-2003, 03:50 PM #4
I'm editting my profile NOW..... Thanks for the heads up BigGreen
06-02-2003, 03:58 PM #5Junior Member
- Join Date
- May 2003
06-02-2003, 04:28 PM #6
You are totally right on with this bro, that is why my profile is not filled out and will stay that way. By some of the information In some of my posts you could probably figure out what geographical region and with out reading my isp address probably narrow it down some more.
I know that in the military I was taught that most people have a false since of security.Gaining acces in non security buildings or non clandestine structures can be realitively easy. People think they are protected and really they are not, much by there own undertaken. Most people will not go that "extra mile" to safe guard themselves either out of sheer laziness or out of poor ignorance...you used common information sites and data that anyone can use or obtain by piecing together information and their posts you ascertained there identity. WAKE UP CALL TO ALL .....because we are not the only ones who look at this site
Last edited by Jarod; 06-02-2003 at 04:33 PM.
06-02-2003, 04:57 PM #7
Yah, ya never know what's gonna show up on the internet . . .
I did a Yahoo search on my name and turned up a complaint I filed with OSHA. If my former employer had done the same Yahoo search, they could have discovered who was making them clean up their act . . .
06-02-2003, 04:58 PM #8
Jarod, you're so right...the guy I mentioned who was an athlete at one of the schools, when I PM'ed him back with his real name, I also told him his phone number, the company his dad worked for, his high school football team quarterback and the teacher he might have had for high school social studies. Yes ALL of this was readily available once you knew the name, hometown, etc. This is more applicable to us younger guys in the age range of 18-23 and most applicable to the athletes as most of HS and college teams maintain websites, which in turn can easily be used to find out more in depth info. We forget that some of this stuff is not erased where bandwidth is not a problem. THis guys was three years out of HS, but the info was still up and available. And I stress this was ALL done without knowing their ISP, I.P. addy or anything clandestine like that...all from straight out info in their posts/profile. The scariest part is that this guy was actually being conscious about not listing certain stuff because he was an athlete and didn't want it widely known that he frequented the board.
But, a seemingly innocuous fact here and another one there, while independently harmless, taken together can reveal MUCH.
06-02-2003, 05:38 PM #9
as a student at a pretty high profile institution, i agree with everything said here...
after working for the O.I.T at my university for 2 years I came to find out that every dorm connection on campus was monitored for bandwidth, and logging of keystrokes as well...that meant that anything said over IM was fair game for them to look at if they wanted to investigate anyone for drug suspicion or crimes committed. when i asked how it wasn't an invasion of privacy, the director declined to comment as he didn't want to get into privacy issues with a lowly resident computer consultant.
a form of nazism if you ask me since 99% of students didn't know that what they said could always translate into evidence to be used against them in the future if the university knew where to look.
what BG said is definitely important to any ex-athlete or current one...people can put two and two together and then fill in the missing pieces with information that is available to the masses.
just be careful and keep your nose clean.
06-02-2003, 10:25 PM #10Banned
- Join Date
- Mar 2002
this is about the best an most informed post i have seen on this board!!!!! if you can do that just imagine what the government can do!!!!!
06-03-2003, 12:42 PM #11Associate Member
- Join Date
- Dec 2002
Hopefully the government will keep focused on real life problems such as terrorist and such. Theyre not too woried about us health freaks for the most part!
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