Are The Websites You Visit Tracking You? | PC Seekers - PC SEEKERS

Are The Websites You Visit Tracking You? | PC Seekers



Ever searched for some product or some place on the internet - and the next time you open some random website you noticed something strange? Yes, ads about the product, that you just searched for, a few minutes ago.

Does the above scenario seem familiar? Perhaps too familiar. This is a common experience for almost all internet users these days. It is called targeted advertising where they show you ads of products based on your search history and interests.

Ultimately it all boils down to the fact that, your internet activity is being tracked and unless you are extremely cautious and know almost everything about how internet works, it is very difficult for anybody to stay anonymous on the internet.

Almost every website you visit has some kind of mechanism in place to track its visitors, this can be done in many ways.

Cookies:

Cookies are small pieces of data sent from a website and stored on the user's computer by the web browser while the user is browsing. Cookies were designed to be a reliable mechanism for websites to remember stateful information or to record the user's browsing activity including clicking particular buttons, logging in or recording which pages were visited in the past. They can also be used to remember pieces of information that the user previously entered in the form fields, such as names, addresses, passwords and credit-card numbers.

These files act as unique identifiers and their main purpose is to benefit repeat visitors. For example, a person will not be required to log in to a website during a second visit due to the cookie file identifying them.

First Party Cookie: There are first party cookies and third party cookies. First party cookies are set by the website itself. Normally, a cookie's domain attribute will match the domain which is shown in the address bar of your browser. This is called a first party cookie.


Third Party Cookie: A third-party cookie, however, belongs to a domain different from the one shown in the address bar. This sort of cookie typically appears when the web pages contain content from external websites, such as banner advertisements. These are deployed across the internet. This opens up the potential for tracking the user's browsing activity and is often used by advertisers in an effort to serve relevant or targeted ads.

For example, a user who checks for PCs and its components will be shown targeted ads for CPUs, GPUs, Motherboards, Pre-built PCs etc.

Most modern web browsers contains privacy settings that can block third party cookies. Google chrome introduced new feature to block third party cookies, so now they are blocked by default in incognito mode, while a user can choose to block them in normal mode too. Other browsers like Safari, Firefox and Brave block third-party cookies by default.

Apart From Cookies Websites Can Users Through:

  • IP address: IP addresses can provide websites with locations from where the user is accessing the website.
  • All browsers of unique footprints that provide information on the type of system that is being used: PC or smartphone, operating system, screen resolution etc.

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