What Are Trackers?
Short definition: Tracking objects, dropped on your computer by websites to track different aspects of your browsing activity (depending on the type of tracker being used).
Trackers could be different types of objects that may be left on your machine to get information about what you’re doing. They are very small files and could exist in your web browser directory. Some potentially unwanted programs, like adware or browser hijackers abuse trackers to steal information about what you do on your browser, so that they can target you with advertisements for profit. When dropped by some form of adware or a browser hijacking program, trackers can be set to expire in two or three years. Others can expire in 10 years, so even if you take care of the malware problem on your computer, thesetracking technologies can still remain on your device and get information about what you do online.
The most common types of tracking technologies include the following:
- Geo-location trackers.
- Locally Shared Objects (LSOs), also known as Flash Cookies.
- Session cookies.
- Persistent cookies.
Depending on the type being used, trackers may be responsible for getting different aspects of information from your web browser. Some of the newer kinds of trackers can even record your whole browsing session on a certain website, and could be abused to get the details on what you type while browsing the website, if the site is unsecured (no HTTPS or website certificate).
The information that could be gathered from your computer system can be of the following kinds:
- Your IP.
- Your MAC address.
- Your language settings.
- OS version and type (MacOS, ChromeOS, Linux, Windows, etc.)
- Where you click.
- What you browse.
- What you type.
- Bookmarked websites.
- Browsing history.
- Download history.
- Search history.
- Login information.
For more definitions, check our Cyber Dictionary.