Sniffing Your History{1}

by Jonathan F
There are a number of webs sites that can take a look at your browsing history. They are a number of them that are torrent sites and porn sites. It is easy to stay away from these kinds of sites but there are also a number of news sites that also track your browsing history. Research done at the University of California, San Diego found that 485 of the world’s 50,000 most popular sites have the capability of reading your browsing history. They do this by using a property of the Cascading Style Sheets language used for page layout. They use the “a; visted” property of (CSS) to their advantage. What this property does is that it changes the color of the links that you have visited and it is stored by the browser. What they do is that they put a bunch of invisible links to third-party sites on their site. Then they use JavaScript code to learn what color the invisible links are to figure out what sites you have visited, so if you have visited them then the color is different to the link. So from there they could create a list of sites that you have visited. The research shows that out of the 485 sites only 46 of them download that history and about 18 actually use it to analyze user visits to certain sites. History sniffing has been around for a while and it could be used to profile a person. There are people that think that its good because companies would only display advertising or links to sites that you would like based on your browsing history .They would only show you services or links that you tend to use. ┬áThe advice that is given by the article is to use browsers that prevent this, which are Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. Internet Explorer is secure only when using private browsing.

I am no longer surprised about how many companies are trying to find out about customers through the internet. I think that it would be better if they let you know that they are getting information about your browsing history instead of going behind the scene and doing it in a sneaky way. I have no problem with them knowing my browsing history as long as they are not getting anything really private through my web browsing.

I don’t find anything wrong with what they are doing. If the information they obtain is only used for marketing products or links that I would be interested in. I think that it would be convenient for a website to only display links that would be useful to me. Besides I am not really concerned because I use the Chrome browser.

Citation:Paual, Ian. (Feb 2011) Rogue Sites Can Track Your Web History. PC World.  Vol. 29 Issue 2, p36-36, 2/3p, 1. Retrieved October 21,2011 from