Basic error puts anonymous bloggers at risk


In a recent experiment writer Andy Baio was able to uncover the identities of seven anonymous bloggers from a random sample of 50 in under 30 minutes; all thanks to a simple mistake they'd made in setting up their websites.

"One blog about Anonymous' hacking operations could easily be tracked to the founder's consulting firm, while another tracking Mexican cartels was tied to a second domain with the name and address of a San Diego man."

The mistake committed by the unlucky 7 was to inadvertently link the websites where they had chosen to be anonymous to other websites where they had not. The link was a shared Google Analytics ID; a tiny and innocuous little signature unique to each blogger but shared across all of their websites. Google Analytics is a hugely popular software package that allows website owners to gather detailed information about how their websites are used.