Many of you will have noticed that your computer engages in small amounts of network activity even after you've turned off your browser and any other app that talks to the internet. Using Resource Manager (part of Task Manager -- a.k.a. Ctrl-Alt-Delete), I found that my freshly installed machine was sending out tiny blips and bloops of data to a couple of strange addresses:
Both are in the U.K., though in differing locations. According to this site
(among others), 18.104.22.168 is owned by Microsoft. The server seems to be physically located in a deserted field
, or a gully, not too far from from Skipton, a quaint town in North Yorkshire.
Other computers seem to be talking to this gully as well. When asked about this alarmingly inquisitive piece of rural real estate, Microsoft
mumbled something about their Customer Experience Something-or-other Program. Which is, of course, not running on this system. I would never have anything to do with something like that.
As for the other address: I have no idea who owns it. One cannot use email to contact Virgin about anything, unless one is a customer. Which I, being a Yank, am not.
My search for a physical location for this address (which also bears the dashing nomme-de-guerre of 22.214.171.124) took me to another chatty rural field near the village of Ericstane, in Scotland. If you happen to be driving through that area -- which is no doubt very scenic and historic and charming -- perhaps you could ask the locals why someone in the area owns a computer programmed to receive the odd kilobyte of data from my computer.
And perhaps your computer.
Here's how to check: Go to Task Manager (Ctrl-Alt-Del), hit the Performance tab, then press the Resource Monitor button, hit the Network tab, then look under TCP connections -- Remote Address. Shut down all programs (except for your Resource Monitor, obviously). Wait a minute or two until everything is as calm as it's going to get. Look for the funky IP numbers.
Anyone know what's going on?
I'd like to have a user-friendly firewall which allows layfolk to set up a simple rule: "I want nothing but my browser to communicate with the internet -- ever." Is that too much to ask for?
(Incidentally, I've run all sorts of anti-malware checks on this system; they've come up clean. Yes, I know all about rogue anti-malware apps; none of that crap is on my system. The install is quite fresh.)