Webtracking is much more widespread than you would like to think and tends to fall under the exploitation side rather than under simple marketing techniques. This article isn’t meant to knock your socks off and give you nights of unrest but to give you the information you need for a secure internet surfing experience.
Where do the crumbs lead?
All over the internet, there are myriads of cookies , web trackers and monitoring software placed strategically by different companies and organizations for different purposes. Most cookies we know are useful but with the expansion of the internet, a dimension of frontiers has opened and brought with it cookies which are used by advertisers as monitoring tools for our internet browsing practices. Most people don’t take this too seriously but the existence of shadow trackers is indeed disturbing. Who exactly uses these webtracking and computer monitoring software and for what purpose? Knowing the answer to this question can help us have safer web surfing experiences.
Don’t be lulled into false security
Here are some things you probably don’t know. There are over 600 tracking devices planted all over the internet by hundreds of companies to acquire information on your specific surfing details. The U.S alone spends over 2 billion dollars in this consumer date extraction annually. And there is virtually no site which is free from their reach. The system you are using right now to read this article would have thousands of cookies being used to monitor internet usage and create a personal profile of your online habits.
It sounds all fine and dandy until one realizes that these companies are trying to make you do things you don’t necessarily want to i.e. buy their products. Ever wonder how the shoes you checked out online and couldn’t afford happen to be advertised on all the internet sites you frequent? You can be sure that it is no coincidence. Web trackers are indeed cataloguing everything you do, from the mundane to the important, and then using it on your psyche to sell their product or service.
Avoiding cookie storage
Ordinarily, the cookie removal practice is simple and not paid much heed to by users. Most people accept the cookies as they go along browsing and then when the volume gets to be too much, clear out the cookie cache. But till then the damage is done. Your browsing data is already accumulated by a web browsing data company and probably sold to another advertising agency looking to expand its reach and target certain consumers.
You have been a victim of computer monitoring, and all the while this happens you continue to unknowingly give away more and more information about yourself, making you more susceptible to annoying ads and spam. So what should one do to opt out of this mass exchange of internet user information? Well for one, a user can simply disable all cookies. But this is too impractical since cookies are used for other purposes as well and disabling them would bar you from accessing a number of sites.
The better option is to selectively disable cookies from certain sites through your browsers privacy options. Some browsers give the option of blocking cookies from specific advertising agencies rather than sites. Either way, you can customize the settings to suit yourself.
There are a variety of security software available online that include cookie management options as well. Many programs are free such as ‘this script’ and ‘Cookie Viewer’. Antivirus programs such as McAfee also include the cookie options as part of their internet security. Some firewall applications also have this feature such as ZoneAlarm Pro. And for the more stubborn tracking cookies, one can use spyware removal or anti spyware programs.
Natalia David, an author significantly contributes towards keystroke logger, Cell phone and PC security Software and spy software for blackberry. If you want to know more about Natalia you can follow her on twitter @NataliaDavid4
Tagged with: web tracking
Filed under: Review Stream
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