question about physical location

Discussion in 'Networking and Wireless' started by kenny1999, Jul 13, 2016.

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  1. kenny1999

    kenny1999 Notebook Evangelist

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    Hi I have a laptop and a pocket wifi device (TP-LINK)

    what can I do to disable anything that could record my location of using the laptop?

    1. Is GPS the only thing to determine the location of a laptop and so if I have made sure that I do not have GPS and it's fine?

    2. Could the pocket wifi device reflect the location (which use SIM card)

    3. My guess is that WiFi should not reflect the location but sometimes it sounds like to me that WiFi could 'help' determine the location, what does that mean? Is it only WiFi at famous sites could be determined?

    It's only because I know some sites would silently track and record my location without my acknowledgement which is something I feel being violated. I want to disable all the things that could find out my location of my laptop and wifi device Thanks for all advice!
     
  2. downloads

    downloads Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    Your location will be approximated by your IP and by the default language set by you.
    If you don't want that to happen use Tor Browser or use a VPN.

    Otherwise regardless of what you do you can be tracked back to your location - the minimum information (assuming you block google analeptics which I do) will be IP, browser, OS and language set on your computer.

    If you don't block google analytic that will be screen resolution, IP, country and city (by way of IP), language set, browser used and OS.
     
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  3. kenny1999

    kenny1999 Notebook Evangelist

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    Hello,

    I am talking about only the case for the laptop that only connects to WiFi provided by pocket WiFi (WiFi egg) which uses mobile SIM card

    Thanks
     
  4. downloads

    downloads Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    It doesn't change anything - website don't need GPS, or don't triangulate your location from mobile signal.
    So whichever website you visit it's going to know your locations (not very precisely though) but not through means you have asked about.
     
  5. kenny1999

    kenny1999 Notebook Evangelist

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    How could the website get my location without GPS?

    The best a website can know is my IP address, which is very very NOT precise in terms of locations . Am I right?
     
  6. downloads

    downloads Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    Usually they will be able to narrow it down to a certain city/town based on IP (plus all the other things I mentioned before).

    It's unlikely that anyone would try to narrow down your location but it used to be possible - see here
    Google changed something so that the proof-of-concept website stopped working but when it did I checked and it turned out it narrowed down my location to about 50 meters.
    So it can be done but no one should be bothered enough to try to locate you precisely - there is no money on it.

    It's enough to know in which country and city you are - getting any more precise means using malicious looking XSS scripts and cross checking it against google database but there is no reason to do it.
    That said it can be done. I thought it was bollocks but back in the day, when the proof of concept website worked I found I can be located very precisely - in fact there was only one building and only part of it withing the circle on the map and I was in it.
     
  7. kenny1999

    kenny1999 Notebook Evangelist

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    Hi. Here Sorry I am not going to discuss the reasons behind and in fact my only reason for my questions to KNOW

    In fact, in my assumption that my laptop will only connect to WiFi provided by my mobile WiFi egg which uses SIM card and my laptop does not have WWAN card and GPS function.

    Yes, Google and many software levels can be more powerful than I can imagine but what's the basic hardware which could support them?

    Without GPS, without connecting to home/cable broadband, with only WiFi provided by WiFi egg.
     
  8. downloads

    downloads Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    I wasn't really interested in your reasons - all I meant that no legitimate website would have a reason to even attempt to get your exact location but at the same time a website that was specially crafted could do it without GPS as illustrated by the link I provided.

    That said if you have a mobile hot-spot you should not worry about being tracked unless there is someone determined to find you and you are going to visit a website prepared by that person.
    Other than that - no, no one will be able to pinpoint your exact location.
     
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  9. kenny1999

    kenny1999 Notebook Evangelist

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    Yes, I understand that no legitimate website would have a reason to find me however in my case they are a powerful website but they are not very legitimate (notorious for some dirty tricks). OK, we don't discuss this.

    How could someone find my location if he intends to? (with mobile hotspot and without GPS)

    Did you mean only if I foolishly provide my information e.g. real name, physical locations to fake or phishing sites and so they can get my physical locations indirectly which is nothing about technology?
     
  10. downloads

    downloads Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    I gave you an example how using a XSS script and cross checking with google database (that was freely available at the time) would work. This is not something google could do - anyone could and the proof-of-concept website was written by someone from outside.
    There are most likely other ways to do this - other than the one above.

    In general though - you are reasonably safe with your setup. You would be much safer if you used a VPN and/or a Tor Browser (it's FireFox based so it looks pretty normal but since it uses Tor it makes it almost impossible to find your location). Also Tor Browser by default uses NoScript which helps a lot.
     
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  11. kenny1999

    kenny1999 Notebook Evangelist

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    Hi I know about VPN and have used TOR browser for some time. However, TOR browser is so slow, many high security websites or plugins or even pictures are not loaded correctly and the IP address is changing from time to time. Is it normal? Or do I have to make any particular setting to bring it to faster browsing experience? Or subscribing to anything?

    Another question- Is VPN and TOR the same concept?? How about Virtual Machine like VMware?

    I am looking for a solution that the precise physical location of my computer is NEVER reflected to any sophisticated websites with any sophisticated software or calculations, unless my information is provided by my ISP or Police on request. I am not worried because I will never do anything illegal.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2016
  12. downloads

    downloads Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    Tor Browser is going to be slower because of how Tor works- you bacillary make hops between different nodes and the last one is that accesses the website requested. VPN is a similar concept but it's going to be faster.
    As for Virtual Machines - that is something entirely different and has no application here.

    Some images or tabs or links might not work in Tor Browser because these are handles by scripts that NoScript blocks for your safety and privacy - you can unblock them for websites of your choosing.

    The long and short of it is - if you want to increase your privacy, you have to either put up with Tor Browser being slower or pay for a VPN. That and you have to be careful about what you do online - sometimes you'll end up giving pieces to the puzzle by yourself and in time whoever is watching you will be able to get enough information to significantly narrow down your location.
     
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