Ask Leo: Why aren’t illegal sites easier to track down?

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By Leo Notenboom

How do banned/illegal organizations host their websites on the internet? I mean, how can Al Qaeda host their websites/forums to recruit followers without getting caught? How do they get their domain registered? My second question is related to the first one. How can Taliban/Anonymous (Hacker Group) tweet or use Facebook without getting caught? Why can’t they be caught from their IP address?

This is actually a very complex question that involves some amount of
technology – and what can and can be done with it.

More than anything else, though, it’s about international law, politics, and
a very, very stark realization.

Not everyone on the planet thinks as we might.

And that “planet” part is important.

An IP address doesn’t get you far

As I’ve written about before, an IP address only gets you so far. At best, it
only gets you to a device that’s connected directly to the internet. Mere
mortals like you and I can’t even get that far, because the information about who
owns that device or where it is located is protected by the internet service
provider.

In the U.S., that means that we first have to get a court order or other legal
document to force the ISP to provide that information.

Even then, if that device is simply a router behind which there are many
computers, the IP address alone hasn’t told you which one. Through proxies,
routers, and anonymization servers, it’s very possible for the actual computer
involved to be very well hidden. That’s one of the ways that the hacker group
Anonymous has remained so elusive.

But let’s pretend for a moment that it’s not. Agencies working at the behest
of the government probably have all the legal paperwork that they need and almost
certainly have ready access to all the technical details.

On top of that, my guess is that most of the larger organizations that you’re
thinking of don’t need to hide their server locations.

Article Continued Here: Not everyone agrees with you

This post is excerpted with Leo’s permission from his blog.

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Twitter URL: http://twitter.com/askleo

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