How can you prevent history sniffing by online ad companies?

jhotz

I wasn't even aware of history sniffing until I ran across an article on Salon this morning about an FCC action against an online advertiser over it. Basically, it uses the function that changes the color of URLs that you've visited to see where you have been. They would put up a page that had thousands of links that were invisible to visitors, then they could see if the visitor had been to any of those linked sites. Here is the article about it, if anyone is interested: http://www.salon.com/2012/12/05/an_online_privacy_invader_gets_caught/

Is there any way to prevent this type of thing? Nothing really comes to mind, but I certainly don't like the idea of advertisers circumventing all of my privacy settings and knowing what sites I've visited in the past.

Topic: Internet
Answer this Question

Answers

2 total
jimlynch
Vote Up (16)

Here's an article with some tips.

Browser History Sniffing and Other Tracking Techniques
http://antivirus.about.com/od/securitytips/a/historysniffing.htm

"By default, links change color when you have visited them. Browser history sniffing compares the link colors of links in your history folder to a master list of links (and their default non-visited colors) maintained by the website operator. A color mismatch indicates a particular site has been visited. Clearing your browser history can help prevent browser history sniffing. If clearing and keeping your browser history set to zero isn't an option, you can change how Internet Explorer and Firefox handle visited link colors."

stylor
Vote Up (16)

I think if you set your browser's cache to "0" and disable history, that should make history sniffing pretty difficult to accomplish.  NoScript might also be worth considering, but honestly, I find NoScript to be a bit of a pain when I'm just surfing around at home.  

Ask a question

Join Now or Sign In to ask a question.
Users of Google Glass will get to meet and compare their techie headgear this weekend at a spot where appearance is everything.
Although Exadata is Oracle's most popular and mature "engineered system," some customers implementing the database machine are making mistakes that prevent them from getting the most performance out of the expensive product, according to a veteran of many Exadata projects.
Tech workers suing over an alleged no-poaching agreement among Silicon Valley firms are fighting an attempt by defendants to ban evidence that might portray Steve Jobs as a bad guy.
Sure, you’ve changed a bunch of passwords, but are you doing all you can to protect yourself?
Formula One racing and cryptocurrency have nearly nothing in common -- except Suzuka. The home of the Japanese Grand Prix will soon debut Japan's first bitcoin ATM.
The clock may be running out on Mt. Gox, but a consortium of investors still wants to relaunch the failed Bitcoin exchange.
Alibaba's Tmall and Taobao sites already sell everything from clothes and furniture to car tires and medicines. But soon they'll also be offering 3G data and voice call plans as well, the Chinese e-commerce giant said Thursday.
Google has expanded its Project Loon tests to the Nevada desert and, for the first time, into licensed radio spectrum.
Google did little during its first-quarter earnings report to shush critics who say its Enterprise unit is a second-class citizen in its kingdom.
Five music labels have filed a lawsuit against streaming music service Pandora Music, saying the company is violating state law by refusing to pay labels and artists for its use of recordings made before 1972.

White Papers & Webcasts

See more White Papers | Webcasts

Join us:
Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Tumblr

LinkedIn

Google+