I have to log into an account to use the university internet, so I imagine they can see all the sites I view, but can they see what account I am logged into, and can I do anything to hide this?

  • Are you using your own machine or a university controlled one? Also, are you using the HTTPS version of this site or just the HTTP?
    – thexacre
    Sep 6, 2014 at 23:36

2 Answers 2


If you use http to access stackexchange, the university can access which account you are logged in with, as there is a link to your own account in the top bar. Note that it is a theoretical "can".

If you use https and there is no university certificate or compromising software on the device you use, the university can't know that without using some very hard and unlikely timing attacks (check when you sent something that looks like a post request, when the same time appeared a new question on the network). If you use https, the only history that's sent is which server you communicate with, how much you speak with it, and when. The "history" is in the GET headers and already encrypted. You can read more about HTTPS in the link suggested by DisplayName.

  • 1
    He hasn't specified if he's using his own hardware or university controlled hardware. If the university controls it then they might have their own CA installed, or they might have monitoring within the actual client.
    – thexacre
    Sep 6, 2014 at 23:37
  • @thexacre Very nice answer, and yes I will be using my own hardware. Although in this instance, I am on the university's computer. Are there instances where I cannot use http secure? My current address at the top doesn't say http or https.Also, why wouldn't they be able to see my account name? Shouldn't my web history still be sent? e.g. www.SE/login -> www.SE/DISPLAY NAME? Sep 6, 2014 at 23:55
  • @DisplayName If your address at the top doesn't say http nor https, you should look for a lock symbol. Its interesting to hear this from you, as the removal of the protocol is sold by browser vendors as simplification (I don't like it)...
    – user10008
    Sep 7, 2014 at 0:03
  • Thank you very much user10008. Https and my tablet PC will be the way to go. Sep 7, 2014 at 0:50
  • @user10008 When you are teaching others with a similar problem, I would give them this reference in your answer: " robertheaton.com/2014/03/27/how-does-https-actually-work " It will probably help others and your solution will be a closed form response :). Sep 7, 2014 at 0:57

... and can I do anything to hide this?

Yes, the advice is the same as for all "hostile" environments: don't use their computer, and don't use their network.

..Or at least don't use their network without a VPN to a trusted network, but best to just not use it at all. And certainly, certainly, don't use their computer.

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