"Analysts may compile the web browsing history of a target and build the profile of a target by inferring from the target's lifestyle, demographics, political views and more."
——Andrew Hilts, executive director of Open Effect and a research fellow with Citizen Lab, once wrote that.
It may sound terrible but it does happen every day. The word “PC” is no longer belongs to you since the machine gets access to the Internet. This is no privacy on the Internet. Adware, potential unwanted programs, browser hijacker, viruses and Trojan horses all may collect your confidential information and sell them to third parties! Cyber criminals even can know what kind of person you are from your cookies.
These days, almost all major websites use various kinds of third-party tracking tools for online advertising, social media and analytics because they don’t want to lose the opportunities to make profits. Thus HTTPS may be disabled. So Google Chrome invented a new extension which can spot unencrypted tracking to help users.
Before we talk about the new extension, we have to talk about HTTPS. Have you ever heard about it? What is it used for?
Wikipedia expresses the term like this: “The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is an application protocol for distributed, collaborative, hypermedia information systems”.
So the information online is usually encrypted when sending. So cyber criminals can’t get the data. However, if just one out of a dozen third-parties on a website does not use HTTPS, cyber criminals can get the information. If the information is misused, then all the troubles will come.
New extension TrackerSSL aims at alerting websites of unsafe tracking via Twitter
When users’ cookies are tracking insecure, the new Chrome extension will warn users by twitter about the issue and offer them the choice to send the information to the website they’re on. TrackerSSL will list of the trackers and categorize them into groups. Those websites which don’t use HTTPS will get more warnings. On the contrary, this will be good for other trackers.
Created by Open Effect and Citizen Lab, a technology-focused think tank at the University of Toronto, TrackerSSL aims to help its users with the security of their sensitive information.
Is that useful? We all hope that the tool can be useful. Let’s wait and see.
Tips: What is Cookies?
Is it the cookies that you eat a few days ago? No! It’s in your browser. When you browse the Internet, you create Cookies. Cookies can include the information of your browsing history, your game accounts and passwords. Cookies are small data files store within your browser. If those information are transmitted online unencrypted, cyber criminals will have the chance to intercept them and use them for commercial purpose!