The Rising Trend of Internet Counter-Intelligence
by Lance Cottrell - CTO of Anonymizer - Tuesday, 13 May 2008.
All types of organizations Ė from Fortune 500 to "mom-and-pop" operations Ė have mandated the use of anti-virus, anti-adware, anti-spam, firewall and cookie removal solutions for every employee workstation. While these programs have proven effective at mitigating various security risks, IT administrators canít get too comfortable with their initiatives, just yet.

A growing and more dangerous threat, called Internet counter-intelligence, is the use of sophisticated Web analytics to uncover corporate-user identities to analyze and track enterprise surfing habits. Doing so affords the perpetrator the ability to capture IP addresses and network identities.

In many cases, exposing your IP address is as easy a visiting a website. For example, a quick search on WikiScanner will show more than 90 percent of todayís Fortune 500 banks Ė including Bank of America, US Bank and Wells Fargo Ė have some of their IP addresses exposed as a result of employees who edited Wikipedia postings from their company workstation. Though these individuals didnít know that they were exposing their corporationís identity, a simple software program was able to extract their host IP address and post them for the general public. In this case, what they post to the Wiki is attributed to their company.

The Wiki expample is a very visible way to see how easy it is for an organizationís network and identity to be exposed. Today there are more than one billion IP addresses that have been collected and aggregate by nefarious Web sites.


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