Browser Fingerprinting Can Id You Without Cookies
Posted 29 January 2010 - 12:28 PM
Posted 29 January 2010 - 07:07 PM
No doubt your PC is also part of a malware-hosting, spam-sending, DDOS-participating botnet because what you described sounds exactly like a roomful of village idiots clicking around the internet without a care or clue in the world, happily downloading infected files with "file sharing" software and going to every malicious "free porn" site on the globe, all the while running (or not) anti-virus, anti-malware apps that haven't been updated since the PC was taken out of the box and put online. It's because of you and your roomful of village idiots that the internet is the dangerous place that it is.
Posted 04 February 2010 - 09:40 AM
I have FF set to delete cookies upon exit and use "Flash Cookie Cleaner" regularly (icon sitting right above the sys tray. No install, just double click and run)CCleaner also deletes flash cookies.
Posted 04 February 2010 - 01:43 PM
It doesn't really matter how many people are using your computer, as all users are still using the same browser. The object of this study is to see how well individual browsers can be "identified" as unique by looking at the plugins installed on a particular computers browser, and the fonts, and IP addresses, and browser versions. Once ones browser can be identified, that persons browsing can be tracked every day as anyone using that computer visits various websites throughout each day.
Companies have gone to great lengths to learn this information for years now, using technologies like tracking cookies, Flash cookies, web beacons, and paying other companies to track you, other companies that live only to track you and sell that information to anyone who wants to know. Companies like Advert, Tangient, Doubleclick, Omniature, Verant, to name a few. Most of these companies put a tracking cookie on your computer, and/or web bugs on affiliates webpages, and as you visit various different websites around the internet that are signed up with that particular marketer, say Advert, for instance, then that cookie sends a message to the tracking company ( i.e. Advert ), who then compiles a list of where you've been online ( They're not supposed to know your name, but they want to ) - and shares it with all the other online websites in the affiliate program. It is Big Business !
( Although, Right now, if you use NoScript, Ghostery, and or Ad Block Plus, you can stop or disable these means of tracking us.
But to have our web browsers become identifiable ? That will make it Much Harder to keep from being tracked ).
To companies selling a product, knowing where web surfers spend their time online equals money. Marketing companies like to gather this information and sell it to companies who would like to know which websites are most frequently visited, so they know to put advertisements for their products on those busiest of websites. And the busiest websites like to know that they get all this traffic to demand more money of anyone wanting to place an ad on their website. Like the Superbowl commands huge amounts of money for a 30 second ad just because of the shear volume of people who will be watching the ads that day.
Also, if your computer can be uniquely identified through your browser and browsing habits, then it is easier for them to target you with specific ads, like ads for products that you have shown an interest in, and ads for stores that are close to where you live, etc. This is close to the holy grail of information to companies. Getting an ad targeted to specific users in specific areas results in more sales.
Companies would love to know more about you, about each and every one of us. How much money we make, if we own our home, ( bathfitter ads, anyone ? ), where we usually shop, what we usually buy, how much we usually spend on stuff... the list is long. Ideally, companies would love to be able to link your particular browser and computer to your actual identity, ( name, address, phone #, credit card numbers, etc. ), to make ads more relevant and personal to you and each of us. ( = more sales ). ( Individual stores that you've ordered from online already have your personal information to fulfill the orders that you've made. The responsible stores keep that information well guarded, so as to earn and keep your trust. But if we and our information can one day be tracked across the web almost without our knowing it, then anyone can know where you've ever been online, and what you've purchased ). Might not bother anyone who is a Saint. But if you're name is Tiger or Paris, ( if you are Not a Saint ), then you may not want so much information about you and your web habits to be so freely available.
Some people don't care if they are tracked, or who is doing the tracking. Other of us do not like it. And we sometimes get worried about how far this whole tracking people idea is going to go.
The downsides to having your browser identify you and your computer are many. You can have a myriad of marketing firms and companies following your movements online constantly, with advertisements tailored to your shopping habits and geographic area following you from webpage to webpage, barraging you with ads for this and "deals" for that. Scammers and phishers will discover how to identify you and follow you around the web as well, hoping that you will someday inadvertently click on one of Their links, hoping to infect you with their malware.
Also, if a company can track you by your web browsers signature, then so can the police, the IRS, private investigators, ex girlfriends/wives, Homeland Security, the political party that you are opposed to, the company that you hope will hire you this week, your spiteful inlaws, Sallie Mae, your Current wife, your psychiatrist, that old high school cheerleader with that peculiar obsession over you, And Playboy will find out that you spend more time at the Penthouse website, and will get jealous, while Penthouse will feel spcial enough to raise their subscription rates on you.
And once "they" figure out how to legally connect your name and identity to your browser and computer, then everyone will know exactly who it is leaving those snide remarks on the web forums about their company, wife, least favorite politician, etc., and so much more.
Posted 18 February 2010 - 01:49 AM