Many websites now have various user activity tracking systems implemented and successfully operate. They are called trackers. A tracker is saved on the user’s computer as soon as he accesses a web resource. The most famous type of tracker is a cookie.
Trackers are developed by specialists. As a rule, they are created for the site by a third party. They have nothing to do with the owners of the resource. How many of these trackers need and what information they should record decides the owner of the site.
Why do you need trackers?
The main task of such spyware — gathering information about user behavior on the Internet, his interests, preferences. Then this information is sold by advertisers and used for targeted advertising. But trackers are used not only for tracking user actions, but also for normal functioning of web resources.
How do trackers get to a PC?
Most often such spyware gets on your computer when you visit the site. If cookies are enabled in your browser, you are encouraged to upload the spyware into your browser. Moving the tracker to your computer may also occur when you connect removable media (flash drives, memory cards) to your PC, install applications on your computer, or launch questionable files. Some trackers may even be part of the device’s operating system.
The potential of the trackers is very wide. They can collect information about the user’s work in the network (save the addresses of the resources visited, record the login and password, other confidential information), information about the equipment from which the user accesses the Internet (information about the operating system and «hardware»), Internet calls and text messages in popular instant messengers, as well as GPS coordinates of devices.
How are users tracked using a browser?
Based on the information collected, tracking programs create a browser imprint. It is unique, that is, its matches in the network are extremely rare. With a fingerprint, any company can identify the user. Some trackers are so resilient that even when the computer is cleaned of such programs, they are stored in the system. This means that the user can be identified wherever he or she is. Registration on websites (including electronic mail services, social networks) and any interaction with them helps this identification. After entering such a site, the browser automatically communicates with the user’s identity with all the consequences that this entails.