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My hostname is being given to all websites - my hostname/ip address is my account username

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Newbie
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎19-05-2020

My hostname is being given to all websites - my hostname/ip address is my account username

I was looking up my IP address and did not realise that my hostname (ip address) is actually my account username, surely this is a privacy and security risk? I always thought I was assigned a random IP/hostname? I get the impression I  have been assigned a static IP and therefore my account username is disclosed to all websites I visit, is this normal?

 

How does plusnet advise new customers that the username they create is shared with all websites and how many new customers use their personal name or personally identifying info in their username? What's the point of plusnet telephone support asking for a username when it is already shared on a public 'no holes barred basis'?

 

I used https://myhostname.net/ and https://www.whatismyip.net/ and https://whatismyipaddress.com/hostname-ip and they all show my username like

 

Lookup Hostname: [myusername].plus.com
Lookup IPv4 Address:

6 REPLIES 6
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Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 8,718
Thanks: 2,026
Fixes: 139
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: My hostname is being given to all websites - my hostname/ip address is my account username

If you have a static IP then by default the reverse DNS (rDNS) will be set to <username>.plus.com. You can request it is anonomised to <ip address>.plus.com . Its one of the few things you can still request via the ticket system https://www.plus.net/wizard/?p=wizard&page=22987&wizard_id=38 .

 

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Newbie
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎19-05-2020

Re: My hostname is being given to all websites - my hostname/ip address is my account username

I have never requested/ordered a static IP address, as consider that a privacy and security risk. A static IP is only useful if I am running something like my own server. It is not a question of wanting an 'anonymised' hostname, but being assisgned a static IP without me requesting such.

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Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 8,718
Thanks: 2,026
Fixes: 139
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: My hostname is being given to all websites - my hostname/ip address is my account username

I cant see why you would have been allocated a static Ip unless it was requested.

Dynamic IP's use the anonomised format by default.

I'm afraid we need one of the PlusNet staff to investigate what has happened with your account...

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Hooked
Posts: 8
Thanks: 4
Fixes: 1
Registered: ‎08-07-2017

Re: My hostname is being given to all websites - my hostname/ip address is my account username

I noticed the same a few months ago.
I'm on ADSL and have never paid for, nor requested, a static IP. As far as I'm aware I have a dynamic address (its the usual very sticky dynamic IP so hasn't changed for months).
 
$ curl https://ipinfo.io
{
  "ip": "31.125.X.Y",
  "hostname": "MYACCOUNTNAME.plus.com",
  "city": "Sheffield",
  "region": "England",
  "country": "GB",
  "loc": "53.3830,-1.4659",
  "org": "AS6871 British Telecommunications PLC",
  "postal": "S1",
  "timezone": "Europe/London",
  "readme": "https://ipinfo.io/missingauth"
}
 
Personally I find it convenient as I dont need to bother using Dynamic DNS for remote access. (And my account name is meaningless)
 
Out of curiosity, if I log into my account and choose "Broadband" then "Configure Static IP" I actually get an error - "Unfortunately, this feature is not available with your current account."
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Newbie
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎19-05-2020

Re: My hostname is being given to all websites - my hostname/ip address is my account username

A static IP address, completely defeats all the cookie busting techniques from likes of AdBlockPlus and Ghostery and the moderator/admin of this forum, who normally see user IP/hostname addresses, will be able to associate my engagement with this forum to my account name.

 

Giving a hostname to your computer and publishing it as you roam from
   one network to another is the Internet's equivalent of walking around
   with a name tag affixed to your lapel.  This current practice can
   significantly compromise your privacy, and something should change in
   order to mitigate these privacy threats."
https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc8117

 

The above quote is about a device/computer with a hostname that is shared across a network/internet, a static IP is far worse as all devices using plusnet broadband with a static IP means all activity is associated to a specific account. It is worrying that plusnet uses a static IP address without consulting me first and it is likely to be a breach of the Data Protection Act 2018 and the associated GDPR. For those that request a static ip/hostname, would be useful for it not to be the same as an account username.

 

With plusnet broadcasting a customers username 24/7 [me], this also puts at risk the account, as all that is then required is a password. Those with nefarious intent could use knowledge of the broadcasted username to scam and phish plusnet customers and website and email logs can be easily tied to a specific plusnet customer.

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Pro
Posts: 370
Thanks: 54
Fixes: 8
Registered: ‎17-07-2016

Re: My hostname is being given to all websites - my hostname/ip address is my account username

@clockharrison 

I was aware of the need to make a careful choice of username when I created my Plusnet account as the previous ISP had a similar scheme of static host name.

As to whether many other ISPs do much the same I can't comment.

You can disconnect and reconnect your broadband connection (leaving a gap) and see if you get the same IP address back.

You could also consider enabling DNS over HTTPS in your browser or using a browser that uses it by default (see  https://www.zdnet.com/article/dns-over-https-will-eventually-roll-out-in-all-major-browsers-despite-... ).

As ever, there are advantages and disadvantages with this approach.

 

I am the satisfied customer....