New Online User Tracking Techniques

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Most modern browsers include several security mechanisms to protect user’s privacy and block online tracking applications. Recently researchers at the Catholic University of Leven presented evaluation for all built in security solutions or add-on protection.

Researchers published the test code in Github and tested 7 browsers, 13 separate ad blockers and 15 anti-tracking extensions. The study revealed that most these security solutions do not comply with the policy requirement to prevent tracking online.


Tracking techniques take advantage of:

• The (deprecated, but still supported) AppCache API and its replacement Service Worker (SW) API
• Javascript in PDFs
• HTML tags
• Response headers
• Various redirects
• Javascript APIs.

Generally, researchers have evaluated 10,000 most popular sites by Alexa, exploring 160,059 web pages and confirmed that advertisers or third parties are implementing one of the listed techniques to bypass privacy protection measures and have user’s cookies.  The research pdf can be found over the following link: https://www.usenix.org/system/files/conference/usenixsecurity18/sec18-franken.pdf

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