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How to Track Online Activity

How to Track Online Activity

Can someone track my online activity?

Technically, only your Internet Service Provider (ISP) could track your entire online activity. But apart from your ISP, almost every big tech company like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple with access to user-based profiles practices a form of limited data collection and surveillance. Here is a list of who can see what you're doing on the World Wide Web:

  • Wi-Fi network admins (employers included) could see the websites one visits, the social networks they use, and the videos they watch.
  • Operating systems (OS) could knowall of the above and, additionally, someone's location (if it's activated).
  • Apps could view the user's account info, location, and email address (learn more from each app's privacy statement).
  • Search engines like Google record private search history and search results.
  • Websites could track online behavior via cookies and use this data to display personalized ads.
  • Governments could only track online behavior or ask ISPs to hand over someone's private browsing data to fight crime.
  • Hackers could view browser history, financial details, login data, and more (depends on the type of cyber-attack or data breach they committed to hack into someone's electronic devices).

What is an example of online tracking?

What is an example of online tracking?

Computer cookies (also known as "web cookies", "HTTP cookies", "browser cookies" or "Internet cookies") are virtually invisible files or pieces of information planted by websites on a computer's hard drive each time someone visits a website. Stored in all web browsers from Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Chrome, to Internet Explorer, cookies record user visits and activity. This is not always a bad thing if we consider online retailers or streaming services that "remember" user preferences and shape a more helpful online experience. Otherwise, it would be impossible to buy anything online or to stream TV series online.

Depending on the activities they track, there are three types of cookies:

  • Authentication cookies monitor whether a user is logged in.
  • Session cookies are temporary cookies that register a visitor's active engagement on a website. As soon as the navigations stops and the user closes the page, the cookie disappears.
  • Tracking cookies collect information based on a visitor's online behavior. They keep long-term records of several visits to the same page, including location, age, search trends, and personal interests.

Can the Wi-Fi Provider See my Browsing History?

Can the Wi-Fi Provider See my Browsing History?

Wi-Fi owners or providers can see any user's browsing history as well as:

  • The smartphone apps used while connected.
  • The source and destination IP addresses.
  • Access data from unencrypted HTTP websites.

Incognito mode doesn't make Internet surfing untraceable, either. It just doesn't save it on the current browser. Yet, there are two ways of hiding the Wi-Fi browsing history, namely through Virtual Private Network (VPN) or The Onion Router (TOR).

Who can see my internet history?

Until May 2020, only ISPs could see a user's browsing data. Now, under section 215 of the Patriot Act, federal law enforcement agencies such as the CIA and the FBI have the power to ask ISPs to provide this data and look into anyone's online browsing history without a warrant or a probable cause.

How do websites track your activity?

Websites could use cookies to collect information about visitors and track visitors' behavior. By placing cookies, they build a better, faster, easier, and more personalized user experience, tailored to each customer's needs. Each time someone revisits a website that requires a user name and password, cookies ensure a quicker, smoother visit with ads that fit their previously-registered behavior.

How can I track someone's Internet history?

How can I track someone's Internet history?

The swiftest and simplest way to see what someone is up to online and to track their browsing or search history is by directly accessing their smartphone or computer and opening their favorite internet browser. On Chrome, one simply has to click or tap on the three dots at the top right-hand corner, select History from the dropdown menu and a list of all the websites visited by the person who used that computer, tablet, or smartphone from their Google Chrome browser will pop up.

Parents and employers are the main categories interested in this type of monitoring. They can also use third-party apps that "spy" on someone's web history remotely, without touching the monitored device during the surveillance. The information tracked includes any combination of the below features:

  • Call history.
  • Keystroke monitoring.
  • Device location.
  • SMS messages.
  • IMs chats from Facebook, Snapchat, and WhatsApp.
  • Web browsing history, with time logs and date stamps for every URL visit.

The two downsides are: having to install it on the tracked device without getting caughtby its owner and the risk of them noticing the app.

Is my Internet activity being monitored?

Is my Internet activity being monitored?

The best ways to find out if someone's own PC internet activity is being spied on are:

  • Taskbar checks for suspicious icons – internet-spying programs usually show up in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen.
  • Windows Firewall Exceptions – network monitoring activities have to be granted access to the targeted PC by opening the Windows Start menu -> select Control Panel -> Windows Firewall -> the Exceptions tab displays the programs allowed to access the computer.
  • Press the Ctrl, Alt, and Delete keys at the same time to launch the Windows Task Manager -> Click the Processes tab and search for processes running under an unknown user name.

Are Web beacons dangerous?

Are Web beacons dangerous?

Also known as "web bugs", "clear GIFs", "tracking pixels", "invisible GIFs", "pixel tags", or even "spyware" (because they record online activity), web beacons are transparent graphic images or file objects delivered through an HTML e-mail or an internet browser. At just 1 pixel x 1 pixel, they monitor:

  • If an email recipient has viewed a particular e-mail.
  • The end user's behavior on a specific web page.

The difference between web beacons and web cookies is that unlike cookies, web bugs cannot be accepted or rejected by the website visitor. Web beacons are not always dangerous or intrusive. They're typically used for:

  1. Measuring the actions of visitors who land on the webpage that contains a clear GIF.
  2. Obtaining high-level web analytics, giving website owners a powerful tool to check user preferences and get valuable data insights.

Can Wi-Fi owners see deleted history?

Tech-savvy Wi-Fi owners can access a device/computer's deleted browsing history only if the router is set to keep log files. Even so, it usually records just the links and no search queries. However, online trails go beyond a browser's history, including temporary files and cache. If the Wi-Fi admins have access to the same computer where someone is logged into their Google account, they can view the entire search history, unless the user does any of the following:

  1. Chooses Stop Saving Activity from the Google Settings.
  2. Clears all Google browsing data and selects The beginning of time.
  3. Deletes Google Search History.

Can a Web bug identify your IP address?

Your IP Address:

A web bug can be used to obtain an email recipient's IP address, as well as to collect the following identifying information, through tracking tokens:

  • The time when the web bug was viewed/visited.
  • The type of email reader or web browser or that made the request.
  • Previously set cookie value on the host server.

Email-sourced Web bugs simply report back to the sender that someone opened an email, therefore validating the existence of that email address.

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