I always thought it's possible to track attackers unless they try to hide their identities using some form of "physical" disguise. No matter how many proxies you use even TOR seems to be traceable by NSA but what about public WiFi networks?

Anybody can simply go buy a used laptop from Sunday market (MAC cant be traced), sit next to McDonald's and fire their scripts? How is it possible to counter such simple but efficient arrangement?

  • It's even simpler: the mac can be changed by the software on the laptop, no need to by used laptops.
    – user10008
    Aug 30, 2014 at 11:40
  • 2
    If you're that concerned about Tor, why do you think public wifi would be safer? For example, I recall hearing that Paula Broadwell was discovered to be behind the anonymous email account harassing Jill Kelley because she was the only person registered at all of the hotels from which the account was accessed. And I imagine every coffee shop within a hundred miles of Glenn Greenwald's home is staked out by dozens of intelligence agencies. Aug 31, 2014 at 2:25
  • Security cameras maybe?
    – Ajedi32
    Jul 7, 2015 at 17:58
  • @Ajedi32 wear a hoodie
    – Ulkoma
    Jul 7, 2015 at 18:05

2 Answers 2


Every user leaves a lot of traces independent of their IP address. If you access web sites they store cookies, do browser fingerprinting etc. If you move from network to network the IP changes, but the computer specific properties stay. If they really want detect you, they will attack you with malware (drive-by-download) so that even anonymized access with TOR will not help, see http://www.wired.com/2013/09/freedom-hosting-fbi/.


The attack can be traced only to the router the attacker is connected to .

If the attacker is using the same web-browser, there is a possibility that he can be tracked because most web-browsers have their own/unique fingerprint. This own/unique fingerprint will not include cookies but will include all other information the browser exposes .

The footprint of a browser can be found here


The easiest and best way to protect yourself when using any public WiFi hot spot is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

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