Privacy Analysis of your Internet Connection - How it works
Your IP address: This is your Internet 'identity' and is similar to a telephone number. Everyone must have an IP address to communicate on the Internet. It is possible to block IP's from accessing a site or provide custom content to specific IP's. Your IP could be the same each time you log on (static) or your provider or company may provide a different one (from a pool that they own) each time you log on (dynamic).
Your Internet surfing may also go through a 'proxy' which is another computer that gets the web pages for you and then sends you the pages via an internal network. This could happen via a business network, cable modem, or you can use another computer on the Internet.
Your computer name (if it has one): If you computer is configured as part of network that uses a domain your computer will have a "host name." This is optional as using just an IP address will always work. The IP addresses are difficult to remember so domain names were invented to replace them.
The system attempted to place the following persistent cookies on your system. : A cookie is a text file placed on your system. According to the specification, only the site that placed the cookie can retrieve it when visiting a web site (of course, it is available to anyone who has access to your hard drive).
A persistent cookies stays on the system until the expiration date. This system allowed the cookie to expire no later than 2038! These are used to track repeat visitors over a long period. A "session" cookie expires in a short time interval or "session" which is set by the web site. This type of cookie is used for shopping carts, searches, and other short-term uses.
You linked from here: This is the 'referrer' information. Most browsers send this information to the web site when a link is clicked. This is used by sites to see where visitors clicked from and what search terms are used to find the site.
Your Browser Type, Operating System: Again, most browsers send this information when a request is made. This information is used to provide different information to the user based on their browser type. For instance the screen resolution and viewable window are detected from the browser and is done in a slightly different way for different versions of Netscape and Internet Explorer. In older versions it won't work at all.
One product "Browser Hawk" uses this information in combination with a database of browser capabilities that allows web site developers to take into account all kinds of browsers.
Trace Route (Traces your signal through the Internet to Consumer.net server): this is a program that documents each 'hop' your signal takes going through the Internet. Usually, this goes from the user to their Internet provider then to the users 'backbone' provider (a 'backbone' provider is a major provider that can transfer data with most of the other major providers). This 'backbone' provider transfers the signal to the Consumer.net 'backbone' provider and eventually the signal gets to the Consumer.net server. See the Network-Tools.com page for a trace route tool to trace any computer.
Who registered your domain?: This looks at the computer name, truncates the beginning, and looks at just the domain name (such as Consumer.net, AOL.com, etc.) A lookup is performed to the domain registration database (which is publicly available) and the results are displayed.
How is your domain configured?: When a domain is configured on the Internet certain information is made available in the domain name server (DNS) configuration file. An 'nslookup' is performed on your domain name. This downloads the domain name configuration file for your domain.
Who owns your network?: This also uses the Internet registration database. A 'WHOIS' command is performed on the users IP address. there are three databases of IP addresses (Americas, Asia-Pacific, and Europe).