I’m sure you’ve heard about wire-tapping issues, online credit card abuse, identity theft or the least known spyware and virus attacks. Hearing it from the news or just finding it on a random news website doesn’t surprise me until this newsletter from one of my technology sources explained one specific way on how it really works. Well, it really drew me closer in terms of awareness, so I will just gladly share it with you peeps.

Picture this:
1. Your local post office
2. The City post office
3. You and your state-of-the-art, snail mail
4. A desperate advertising agency with an “underground contractor”

If you experienced it old school, you get what I’m pointing at from the first 3 items. You compose a letter, maybe a shared tale of your out-of-the-country experience to a special relative, sealed it neatly inside an envelope and write the recipient details at the back. As I grew up in the province, it has to be sent to our local post office wherein they carefully sort out all the incoming mails and brought to the corresponding City post offices. By then it can be sent to their destination by Mang Isko. All of these, paid enough to keep your precious letter “sealed”.

What is the last item for? Almost all present businesses would love to know people’s interests, not to mention if the same people would interest their own products and services. As advertising has become a lifestyle in all types of media, being desperate isn’t a subject.

But how would you feel if your City post office, together with a high-paying advertising agency, fully-authorize and pay an “underground contractor” to open all those neat and secured letters and expose your itineraries, interests and professional background (even your identity) just to be informed of what advertisement offer they can accurately send right to your doorstep?

Wicked.

Important Points in DPI:
1. Your snail mail is the modern e-mail or any transaction made online nowadays. Such transactions are validated and sent together with cookies, if any, made possible by your web browser and your desired web destination.

2. The local post office is your internet connection, most likely deployed with a local firewall to intercept basic security level and online threats.

3. The City post office is your ISP, which basically can possess a protocol-based intrusion and detection systems (IDS/IPS) which are far better than your local firewall. As illustrated above, they can only “sort” your letters based on sender and recipient details, represented by header packets of most online transactions.

4. Advertising agencies are the real-life character in our analogy.

5. The “underground contractor” is the next-generation (is that today?) online filtering system called the Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) which can easily conduct a protocol and content-based intrusion and detection system on any online transaction. That would mean going beyond your local post office’s job. They are hired to perform “operations” on your sent transactions up to the top layer of the OSI model. DPIs can easily drill inside your cookies, including your user information, to determine which content can be submitted as queries to advertising companies, even as you type in real-time. These contents can be then “forwarded” to the online advertising agencies and sent back to your web pages as advertisement banners, based on your browsing habits and online transactions.

Some Advantages of DPI:
1. Grainy details of virus and spyware intrusion and prevention.
2. Protection from copyright distribution. (Boo!)
3. Implementation of basic network access rules.
4. Ensure ISP traffic control and bandwidth allocation.
5. Better internet experience thru advertising.

As vast as the issue of internet security, it better to know these small details compared to being aware of nothing. I may not be a critical target of this subject, I still want to be a factor of consciousness to those that COULD or WIL be.

I do hope it opened the same level of awareness to you.  Feel free to drop your comments.

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