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Online tracking: Protect yourself


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Just been reading about a (new to me) type of tracking thats actually been around for a while. Most people block third party cookies and/or wipe their internet-cache each time they close thier browser, but aparently thats not enough. Companies like 'addthis' are able to track you each time to go to a site by "phoning" home each time you access a site with thier tech installed - by passing any and all precautions you took. So the only way to block this kind of crap, is at source - in otherwords your browser.


My current setup was as follows -

  • Adblock+ - blocks ads
  • Adblock popups addon - blocks ads in any popups
  • Adblock element hider - user selective blocking of sections of a page(eg. I use it to block all the crap from youtube/ebay/etc, so I get a cleaner interface)
  • CookieCuller - I have FF set to delete all of its history & cache while keeping passwords and so use CookCuller to prevent deletion of cookies for sites I trust, eg www.thedarkmod.com etc
  • Flashblock - block flash, speeds up page loading times.
  • FireIE - loads a page via the Internet explorer engine (Im still texting this as it dosent always work)
  • NoScript - This is the mother of all addons and very comprehensive and powerfull. (I only recommend this to tech savvy users)

Today I installed -

  • Disconnect addon - tracks website behavour and blocks tracking at source (ads, analyticts, content)
  • Privacy Badger - another tracking blocker, but it learns as you browse. So can be considered a dynamic version of Disconnect.
  • Disable Anit-Adblock - a lot of sites now detect you have adblock installed, this attempts to prevent this detection.

More info hereand here, these addons are available for FF and Chrome (I dont really trust chrome, but some sites only work properly in it)

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One I like to use is HTTPS everywhere, which attempts to use HTTPS instead of HTTP when connecting to websites. It used to be available from the in-browser add-on browser, but having just reset Firefox to get the performance back, it no longer seems to be there, but can be found at




A less useful one I found on the add-on browser was HTTPtoHTTPS which adds a little button to the bar that you can click to try get the website you're on to go from HTTP to HTTPS, but isn't automatic and could be a chore to use for everything.

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It's pretty hard to know what you need to install and what types of tracking you may still be vulnerable to. I'm running Adblock, I use Firefox's private windows any time I do something sensitive, and my free antivirus (AVG) has a web addon that has additional privacy settings that I have activated. I regularly clear my history and cookies, and regularly sweep my cpu for viruses and malware.


If those don't do enough, well, more power to the trackers. I like to be careful, but I also can't let myself get too worked up over making sure I'm fully secured at all times. Anonymity in large numbers, thankfully, is its own defense oftentimes.

Edited by Digi

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  • 2 months later...

You might also want to look at Spywareblaster, this is an app written by this guy whose completely anty addware. What it

does is you run it once, update it, and it closes off all the security holes in Internet Explorers Internet Options. Regardless

which Browser you use, this adds an extra level of protection. Tis free to download, donate if u want to help him,

other than that it's a run once update and close program.


It doesn't retain any part of it in memory, it just changes your Internet options so they are more secure from add based crap.

I've used it for years n it's a great app.

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One thing I do if an ad server is becoming particularly annoying is I track down the URL where the ad is coming from and add it to my hosts file


Like so

... ad.uk.doubleclick.net ad.doubleclick.net googleads.g.doubleclick.net

One or two sites will stop working altogether if you do this as the ad site feeds back to them before proceeding, for those I use adblock & privacy badger


Takes a little effort but 90% of adverts & tracking cookies never make it to my machine because I don't get to the site they come from.


Also if you have spybot you'll probably find a few thousand entries are already in the hosts file

Edited by esme
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