Current Hostname Practice Considered Harmful


Giving a hostname to your computer and publishing it as you roam from one network to another is the Internet’s equivalent of walking around with a name tag affixed to your lapel. This current practice can significantly compromise your privacy, and something should change in order to mitigate these privacy threats. There are several possible remedies, such as fixing a variety of protocols or avoiding disclosing a hostname at all. This document describes some of the protocols that reveal hostnames today and sketches another possible remedy, which is to replace static hostnames by frequently changing randomized values.