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Are you aware that web sites are tracking you?

Have you ever noticed that the ads that you see on social media and websites show the things that you are interested in? Is it a mere coincidence?

Would you be surprised if I tell you that it is not a coincidence at all? Yes! This is called social media ad targetting. Those ads are specifically delivered to you because the system figured that you are interested in them.

The question is, how did they know what you are interested in? Kinda creepy to think, right? How did now the things that they are interested in?

The text in the image may explain it a bit. But if you read it… it seems too scary to think that these websites are monitoring our activities on the web. One thing, the word ‘spam’ maybe too strong a word in this situation… well at least on some social media sites.

The first question is, how are these trackers downloaded into our computers? The answer is, ‘cookies!`. Those little files that WE ALLOW (Yes! We allowed them) the websites to place into our computers are actually gathering information about us! Sounds scary, right?

However, cookies were first intended in order for web site owners to improve user experience. With cookies, we generally would see content that we want, we don’t have to type again the information that we have already typed in similar forms.

On the other hand, another purpose of these cookies is for profiling and targeted marketing. But this is also good, we don’t get bombarded with ads that we don’t want to see.  And advertisers finance social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Virily up and running.

But here is the scary part… there are third, fourth and even fifth party cookies that are intended to deliver trojan horses and backdoors!

To know more about web trackers, go to these links:

Ok… I think I have said enough scary information… but don’t fret… there are always solutions. One thing I can suggest right now is always clear your ‘Browsing Data’ from your browser.

In my next post, I will share with you how to go about this and how to protect yourself.

Credits:

Image source: Screenshot of a warning from my anti-virus.

  • Question of

    Have you noticed that the ads you see are those you are interested in?

    • Yes
  • Question of

    Were you already aware about web trackers?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question of

    Do you think these web trackers are legal?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question of

    Would you share your idea on the comment on how to protect yourself from undesirable trackers?

    • Yes
    • No

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What do you think?

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Written by artbytes26

I'm a self-taught photographer and artist, hobbyist, nature lover, photo editor. and a self trained web designer and developer.

22 Comments

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  1. Literally, it is difficult to run from being tracked. The only prevention is not to access anything online. Or, don’t access log in websites.
    People like me who have an Android phone are not immune to Google spying our activities in the name of delivering targeted ads

  2. Google is on our heels 24/7. Google knows where you go, what you write about, at which restaurant you ate last night, and if you use Siri or Alexa they know what you say in your bedroom as well.
    I am not sure if I can protect myself from these tech giants. I need to get rid of all gadgets .

    • Ok.. Time to send Alexa out of the room… Wait… I don’t have Alexa yet. Hehe.

      That’s quite creepy to think though. Hehe.

      Well… You can have your own smart assistant that would run offline, that would be good.

  3. ok
    so let’s talk about the concept. First off, if someone wants to track you they aren’t using cookies. I can track you 20 other ways very quickly. Cookies, simply make it easier to log into sites. They keep your personal information on our computer.

    I can, once i gain control of your computer via other means, use the cookie data to steal your information.

    But in and of themselves cookies are less of a risk.

    Here is what i tell people.

    1. change your password often
    2. make that password complex
    3. Never open an attachment sent to you in email or a link

    I can do more damage with number 3. it is the most dangerous problem on the internet today.

    • Well said doc! I was actually expecting suggestions/advice like this from you. Thanks :D.

      As I did this article, I found out that the first party cookies are not really dangerous… but I learned there are third-party up to fifth-party cookies are sometimes injected. And these are the ‘bad’ cookies that the Cookie Monster would not even want to eat! 😀

      • yes, we can argue the code name. The injected or what we in the security call unintended code, isn’t really a cookie.

        Cookies are legitimate web services designed to help users. They are good!
        malicious code – that is a really bad thing.

    • As I have mentioned… the good side is, we only see the products that we wanted to see…
      But that is one effect of tracking. They monitor what you are searching for or where you are going on the web, tag your activity and show you only related tags…

      Imagine this if there are no tracking cookies, you are living on the colder side of Canada and all the ads you see are about air conditioners. 😀

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