People have been saying that the entity ‘They’ have been watching what you are doing on the computer. Now, in simplest terms, they have been using cookies and supercookies.
Newer code can replicate cookies in locations such as these:
- Standard HTML cookies
- Flash cookies
- Local storage used by Silverlight
- Cached images using steganography to store data in the bits that make up the image
- A variety of HTML5 cookies
- The browser history of links that have been visited in a different color to links that haven’t to store cookie data in using the color information
Cookies are files left behind from websites that you visit and let other sites keep track of what you visit. These files can create a ‘roadmap’ of what you do on the internet and what websites you frequently visit.
The ‘User Agent’ is also a vital thing that is given to websites by your browser when you visit the site. It details every part of information about you browser’s version and the version of all of your plugins that are being used at that time. This is a key piece of information that could be used to penetrate your computer, by a hacker with an exploit or software that could easily take advantage of your particular plugin’s release.
In order to protect against some of the methods used to obtain cookies and analyze your browsing data, you could disable third party cookies and disable flash cookies altogether in your browser’s settings. This will reduce the number of sites that track you.
Ultimately, clearing your cache and cookies altogether will be the best option for security.
Advertising networks have been increasing their work to ‘catch’ a lot more people in their nets for their ads. Cookies are their greatest way to gather ads for the masses.