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IP, Anyone?

Just as your street address is a pointer to you for the rest of the world, so is your Internet Protocol (IP) address. It is your identifier so that traffic can “find” you on the Internet. Without a way of finding you on the Internet, you would not be able to receive e-mail or set up a home network. But, there is always a trade-off between usability and security in the online environment. Yes, if the world can find your Internet presence, they can attempt to gain information about you or hack into your computer systems. However, without a place in the online world, you'd be secure, but you wouldn't be able to perform many valuable functions.

As was mentioned in earlier chapters, home users have the ability to set up their own domain names and home networks and become miniature e-commerce sites. Within 5 minutes, we were able to register our book's Web site domain name, www.privacydefended.com, for a $70, two-year registration fee. The Domain Name System (DNS) consists of a directory, organized hierarchically, of all the domain names and their corresponding computers registered to particular companies and persons using the Internet. When you register a domain name, it is associated with the computer on the Internet you designate. We own this domain name and have set up our Web site and mail server. After you have your domain registered and set up, you can add machines to your network; for example, we could add mail.privacydefended.com or ftpserver.privacydefended.com. But, by setting up and registering your domain, you are required to give up information about yourself. The disadvantage is that this information is then made public to the rest of the world.


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