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One of my friends has become a distributor (I guess) for an ISP. He asked us to buy our internet plans from him. What exactly will he be able to see that I do on the Internet?

He can see that when our router is On and connected to the Internet. This got me worried. SO, I have a few questions:

  1. Can he see exactly what websites we visit? I mean without using any sophisticated tools. I tried searching on the Internet but couldn't find a definitive answer. Everyone just says that he can see everything. My question is can he see exactly what I do in plain text? Like if I visit superuser.com will he see that without doing any work or using specialized tool?
  2. If the answer to 1 is yes, what can I do to enhance privacy?

Thanks.

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  • @RealNoob Your question is not about wireless networking ;) – InterLinked Oct 14 '20 at 0:20
  • @InterLinked Sorry, I thought Wifi is Wireless Networking. What does Wireless networking mean then? :D – Real Noob Oct 14 '20 at 14:06
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    Your question is about your Internet connection, not your LAN. Nothing in your question is LAN-related, it's 100% about your Internet connection. Maybe start here: blog.interlinked.us/8/what-wi-fi-really-is-and-what-it-isnt – InterLinked Oct 15 '20 at 15:05
  • Thanks @InterLinke. That was very informative. :) – Real Noob Oct 19 '20 at 4:26
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Web browsing is mostly now encrypted with HTTPS transmission. Make sure the Web Sites you go to use HTTPS as the access method.

Banks are very well encrypted and safeguarded.

Email (Outlook Email for sure and probably others as well) encrypt Email traffic. So that is safe.

Those are the major portion of what you use over the internet, so your friend would have to spend hours (vastly most likely in vain) trying to read your stuff, spying, in effect.

Remember too, that people are paid to work at an ISP, not spend time looking at you. The last time I had trouble with Email content (nothing to do with viewing content) I had to send headers of my email to the Email support people.

Also "authorities" can track IP addresses (through HTPPS and also VPN) .

So there are limits on perfect privacy and security that we ALL bear.

You are not special (nor am I) and are safe as anyone so far as I can see.

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  • Thanks @John. :) If I visit, https websites, will he not be able to see the content of the websites or even the name of the websites that I visit? – Real Noob Oct 12 '20 at 12:29
  • He will not see the content of what you send via HTTPS and that may include the website name. Also, ISP employees are generally too busy to spend their paid hours checking you out. – John Oct 12 '20 at 12:31
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    Yeah unless his "friend"sets up a man in the middle attack, which is trivial for an ISP to do. – Moab Oct 12 '20 at 12:33
  • Thanks @John. I was just concerned because the two times we switched off the router, he could tell that we were not connected. This got me thinking if could also see what we are actually connecting to. – Real Noob Oct 12 '20 at 12:34
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    I think I have covered the overall ground - no perfect security, so if you have a big concern in your own mind, explain that you do not want internet to come between your friendship, use another provider. It is really up to you at this point – John Oct 12 '20 at 12:46
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He might be able to see the domain of the website you're visiting. Suppose you are watching a video on youtube, he can see you visiting www.youtube.com, although he cannot see the particular video you are viewing.

So yes he can have the general idea of what website, when and how you are browsing, although he cannot access any other data like Credit card info entered for payment because all the data going to the website is encrypted by HTTPS protocols.

If that hurts your privacy, you can use a trusted VPN connection as an extra layer of privacy. I try to write non opinion-based answers, so I leave it to yourself to find one, but make sure they are trustworthy, because they can access the same data as you friend can.

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  • Thanks @bathcoding. :). I am just adding two more comments here to get your input. – Real Noob Oct 12 '20 at 12:49
  • He is my friend. He is not an actual employee. More like a distributor for them (I guess) to provide last mile connectivity. As far as I can tell, he "buys Internet" from a bigger ISP in bulk and then lays down the wire to distribute it to us. – Real Noob Oct 12 '20 at 12:49
  • I also don't actually think that he is spying on us. He is new in the business and wants to provide us better service. I guess he is basically monitoring us. I was just curious how much he can see when casually monitoring? – Real Noob Oct 12 '20 at 12:49
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    As I stated above, if he works in the ISP company he definitely can. The ease of accessing the data depends on the company's policy. – batchcoding____s Oct 12 '20 at 12:52
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    Even I don't think most ISP's divulge consumer data openly. I think they will only provide it if its required by law, or in a police investigation. Such companies strictly abide their policies so you need not worry about your data that much anyway. – batchcoding____s Oct 12 '20 at 12:55

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