Business

Hunting password thief will be nearly impossible

Q: Someone has discovered my password on my Yahoo e-mail address and used it to distribute some information that was very private. I have contacted Yahoo because I want to find out who did this, but it's very difficult to talk to a live person there. Could Yahoo provide me with the IP (Internet protocol) address of the computers that have viewed my e-mails? If I could find that information, I would definitely file a lawsuit.

A: The best thing to do is change your password so this doesn't happen again. After signing into Yahoo Mail, click "options" and select "account information." You'll have to enter your current password again to get to the "ID card" screen, where you can change the password to something else.

But tracking down the person who did this would be difficult. While Yahoo does know the IP address, it would be unlikely to share that information unless compelled by a court order because of privacy concerns. Even if you knew the offending IP address, you would have trouble tracing it to a particular computer or PC owner. Internet service providers typically share IP addresses among many customers, so each time a customer logs off the Internet or shuts off the PC, that IP address is assigned to someone else. While Internet service providers know which PC was using a given address at a particular time, they aren't likely to tell you unless a court says they must.

Q: My home network uses high-speed DSL service from telephone company AT&T, which connects first to a Speedstream 4100 DSL modem and then to a D-Link DI-524 WLAN wireless router. After an hour or so, the Internet connection is lost, and I have to reboot the modem and router by switching off a power strip. I have all green lights on the router. The modem has four green lights (power, ethernet, DSL, Internet) but the "activity" light doesn't seem to be on. What's wrong?

A: The "activity" light on the Speedstream modem should flash and then become steady green when you are sending or receiving data. If that's not happening, then the problem may be the modem or its connection to the DSL line. The best way to find out is to call customer support.

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