A Quick Guide On Data Packets And How They Can Affect Your Online Privacy

We use the internet everyday but most of us do not sit and think about how the whole thing works.

We take for granted that we are going to be able to communicate with a person from around the world instantly.

With the telephone we could do this with our voice but, with the internet, we can do this with video, voice, and even the occasional text message.

There is one piece of technology in particular that we have to thank for this ability.

It is the data packet.


Data Packets

Without these packets, we would not be able to communicate as we do right now.

In this article, I will explain what data packets are, how they work, and how they can also be used against you when it comes to online privacy.

A data packet, also known as a network packet, is a small byte that carries data inside of it.

Even though the byte itself may be small, it can sometimes hold a large amount of data.

Usually this data is represented by the use of flags in the data stream.

So, if a setting is in the form of a 0, that means it is off and if it is in the form of a 1, then it is on.

This is called binary and it is used in computers and network packets a lot.

The packet uses binary so that it can hold information such as the TTL, which means Time To Live, the header length, meaning how large it is, the version, which means is it or IP4 or IP6, and all sorts of different data.

When someone wants to send a file or any other sort of large piece of data over the net, it will be in the form of packets but there will be many packets travelling over the line, not just one.

So the packets are split up and they go to their intended destination.

The equipment on the other side will take the data packet, read it, and reconstruct the data over on its side.

While the data packet is doing this, it has to travel through many different nodes on the internet.

The packet is able to determine which nodes are the best routes to take to the destination that it is trying to get to.

After that packet finds the best destination of nodes to travel through, it sends that information back to the original source so that the other data packets can follow it.

As you can see, how the data packets travel and work can be pretty interesting but you have to remember, that the data in the packet can be used against you as well.

Data Packets And Privacy

People are able to intercept the data packet and change the information inside of it.

Or they simply just take the data packet and read the information inside of it.

They do this by what is called a man in the middle attack.

So for this reason alone is why if you are on a public network, you should encrypt all of the data that you send over that network.

If the data is encrypted then someone who intercepts it will not be able to read what is inside the packet.

Data packets are a pretty amazing concept.

They are a very useful tool but can be used for bad things in the wrong hands.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


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