Most people don't realize how easy it is for their online behavior to be tracked. ISPs, Websites and advertising networks all have ways of tracking your online behavior. They track you in order to provide targeted advertising, classify you into a demographic group, and resell information about you to other companies.
Website do their tracking by looking at cookies, IP Addresses, and Web Bugs, and even your browsing history, among other techniques.
Here are the many ways you can be tracked online:
What are Cookies?
Cookies are small pieces of data that websites can store on your computer. This is the most direct way of tracking your behavior. A website can "tag" your computer with a cookie and then read the value of this cookie later to identify you. This means that every time you visit that site they know its you.
Cookies left on your machine can also be used by to see what sites you have visited in the past, if somebody has access to your computer.
There are four types of cookies:
- HTTP cookies. These cookies come from the website that you are visiting and are intended to stay around permanently and each time you are online. We recommend that you delete all cookies the end of each browser session.
- 3rd Party cookies. Webpages often have pieces of content form more than one source ( such as ads). These cookies are set by other domains than the main page you are viewing. In most cases 3rd part cookies are used by advertisers to track users across multiple websites. We recommend that you block third part cookies.
- Flash cookies. Flash "cookies" is a term for sites using a feature in Adobe's Flash called "Local Shard Objects" to store information just like in cookies. Many sites found that they could get around your cookie settings (such as blocking or deleting) by using a feature of Flash. Abine recommends that you delete all Flash LSOs at the end of each browser session.
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