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Sometimes what is NOT there is more important
June 27th, 2006 by JTJ

Steve Bass, a PC World columnist, had an item this week that reminds us that a good analytic journalist is always thinking about what is NOT in the data.  He writes:


Risky Business: Stealth Surfing at Work


Not long after I told my buddy about Anonymizer, I heard from another friend, an IT director for a fairly large company. It may
not be such a good idea to surf anonymously at the office:


“I recently had an employee, an MIS employee at that, fired. He was using Anonymizer at work. We have a tracking system (Web
Inspector) and I kept noticing that he was leaving no tracks.


“I consulted with my supervisor and he decided that I should analyze the employee's system. I found footprints, hacking, and a
batch file he used to delete all Internet traces. So I sent the system off to forensics and they found all the bits, each and
every one. We're now in legal limbo. The employee is being fired, not for the hacking or the batch file, but for using the
Anonymizer.


“Thought maybe you'd be interested in hearing about the dangers of using the Anonymizer in the workplace. They claim the
Anonymizer hides your tracks at work–but I guess not all of them.”


–Name Withheld, Network and Computer Systems Administrator


I asked George Siegel, my network guru, what he thought. Here's what he said: “It's interesting to note how the user was
initially discovered — by the absence of anything incriminating. Network professionals have logs showing just about everything
that goes on and they look for any deviation from the norm. I can always tell who is up to no good… their computers are
scrupulously clean.






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