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How Does Your Browser Spy on You?

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This article was contributed by Jane Harris who works as a business development manager at GoLogin.

Every time you go online, your browser detects your personal information. It concerns who you are, what you are interested in, what you are looking for, etc. So let's look closely at what data your browser can spy on and collect.

Details the Browser Can Reveal

When you use a website or look for some specific information, your browser collects it and leaves it behind. So other people who have access to your PC can view this data and find out a lot about you. In addition, the browser can show this data to the website you are using now, and the threat of being blocked for some reason is always around.

You may not care much about it. However, you need to know what details your browser can reveal about you and be alert.

1.   Cache and History

Many browsers follow your history of Internet use. Every page you have visited on the Net is available for everyone interested in you. Other websites can also utilize this information if you don't get it clear and start offering you their products or block you if your interests do not comply with their policies.

You need to clear all your browsing data if you don't want third parties to have access to your PC's cache information. This refers to the bits of data downloaded on your device that speed up the browser's search when you use the same site next time. The person, who wants to know what you have been doing on the Net, can review all recent cache entries by typing chrome://cache for Chrome or about://cache for Firefox.

2.   Bookmarks

If you habitually use bookmarks for the site you want to return to, someone can access them, too. There may be shortcuts to your financial data, favorite pages, and personal or workflow routines. For example, if someone finds out what bank you are using, their next step will be to search for your email address and steal the financial data or get access to your bank cards. If you have bookmarked a dating website, another person can make you an indecent offer or assume you are single.

Your homepage can demonstrate a lot, too. For example, if you have left all the browser settings open from the previous use, it is easy to detect everything you may have wanted to conceal.

3.   Cookies

These minor parts of the software may be even more dangerous than your history and bookmarks. The latter only contains a list of links to your preferred websites. Nowadays, almost every site uses cookies meant to penetrate your computer's hard drive and spy on your further activities. So, they are not harmless at all.

Of course, not all cookies are hazardous. For example, you cannot use a “Keep Me Signed” option on some useful sites if you ignore the cookies of the platform you usually access. However, if you enter a new site and it asks you to agree to cookies' use, it is better to skip the offer. Or you will start getting a lot of unnecessary ads and further offers that are pretty annoying.

That is why experts recommend clearing cookies regularly with the help of specific software. If you want to learn more about how it works, check here. Even if you do not care about being bothered by continuous advertising, some super-dangerous cookies can destroy your system or prevent your computer from performing quickly.

4.   Extensions

Every browser offers extensions for specific functions. You may get a lot of issues while downloading some of them. Of course, most extensions are legitimate and harmless. However, some can violate your privacy badly or even sell information about you from your browser. Such extensions are primarily available for free, so they need to earn money in such a dangerous way. Even those free extensions you once used as reliable and legitimate can sell something to spammers or cause your information to leak.

5.   Reporting Technical Data

Suppose you have never used all the previously mentioned options. However, you may always need to check if everything is safe while browsing the Net. The matter is that your browser can report technical information about you to the sites you are visiting. It can be your geolocation, your device's CPU or GPU, an operating system version, download speed, and your present website log-ins. This data can be further processed without your permission, and you will never know who can use it.

6.   Autofill Info and Saved Passwords

You may have seen many times that your browser offers you to save your password, email address, or credit card data. However, you can never be sure that your browser will store it securely. Someone else may use it, and the autofill will reveal all your sensitive data immediately. In addition, if your password is unsafe, fraudsters can peek at it when your browser automatically fills it in.

7.   Google Tracking and Social Media

You may be astonished, but Google and all social media, including Facebook, always track all your activities on the Web. If you have a Google account, be sure that Google knows all details about what websites you prefer to visit. In addition, such platforms as Twitter or Facebook use social sharing buttons to track what you are doing or interested in.

Moreover, Google or Facebook can spy on you even if you are not logged in. This is because they earn billions on advertising, so they need to know what you prefer to search for and immediately show it to you.

How Can You Prevent That Spying?

You may believe that if you use private browsing or incognito modes, you are protected against spying. However, they do not prevent your browser from saving history, which means everyone can always access it. Moreover, your ISP also sees what you are doing on the Net if you do not use a VPN and can share this information with others. Therefore, even if your browser is in incognito mode, it still reports the information to the sites you are using.

You cannot completely stop your browser's sharing information about you, but you can reduce such sharings sufficiently. You need to install an anonymous web browser for the beginning. It should provide you with unbreakable privacy protection. High-quality anonymous browsers can keep your privacy as safe as possible. If you need a widely used browser for your work or hobby, you can try installing a privacy-protecting app at least. You may also talk to an expert to find other ways of avoiding Internet spying if you care a lot about your online privacy.

Final Thoughts

You must always remember that your browser is spying on you for minor information that does not matter much or for your significant routines and interests. If you want to avoid or minimize this spying and sharing of your data with advertisers or fraudsters, you need to look for advanced options for combating this issue. Of course, you may only care about some things we have described here. However, getting protected and being on the safe side is always better.

About the author

Jane Harris is a business development manager at GoLogin Company. She has considerable experience in companies taking care of data protection technologies. She cares about product sales and understands new technologies in this sphere. One of her hobbies is extending her professional acquaintances by writing articles and maintaining vivid discussions in the comment section about anti-detect browsers, antiviruses, cloud protection, encryption, and many more.