Make no mistake about it, when you surf the web, you are constantly being tracked. There are a lot of web sites out there that want to get as much as information about you as possible so they place little pieces of software called cookies into your browser to see what sites you are going to.
But some web sites take it even beyond that.
There are some businesses that are willing to skirt the law just to be able to track what you are doing online.
There is a thin line between what the law allows you snoop on and what it doesn’t. Some business web sites either cross the line or get very close to it. To make sure you are not a victim to an overzealous business, I will show you what information the web sites are able to get just from your browser alone.
Tracking Via IP Address
The first thing that you should know about when you are surfing the web is a thing called an IP address. You may have heard that term plenty of times but you might not be sure what it means. An IP address is a group of numbers that identify your computer on a web site. A web site is able to tell what part of the world you are from through your IP address and can even narrow it down to what section of which city you are in.
Every single thing that is connected to the web has an IP address – it is how you are able to connect to the different servers and web sites that you go to. You don’t see the actual numbers because it sits behind something that is called a DNS. That is a program that takes the numbers of the IP address and transfers it to a name. That name is what you type into the browser to get to the site that you want to visit. So the IP address is the first way that they are able to track your browser.
Tracking Via Adware
The second most common way to track you whenever you use your browser is to install a program that is known as adware. This type of program will see which web sites that you are visiting and will then serve adverts that are based on the content of those web sites. You may think that it is the web site that is sending you the pop up, but in reality it is the program that is installed on your computer.
These programs are not only seeing the web sites that you are visiting, and sending ads that go along with it, they are also sending that data to a remote server and tracking what you are doing. The combination of the two allows them to potentially make a lot of money off of you. This is especially true if you are not aware of where the ads are coming from.
Tracking Via Cookies
And the last way that they will track you is by what I mentioned before and that is a cookie in your system. Almost every web site uses cookie technology. The problem is that some web sites abuse the ability to leave a cookie in someone’s computer.
These are the different ways that companies are able to track you when you use a web browser. Make sure that you always remember what they are.