👻 Ghostery - How To Protect Yourself From Internet Tracking

in security •  last year

In this article I provide a step by step guide on how to secure your browser from internet trackers and stay safe on the web.

Ghostery-Safe-Secure-Browsing-Privacy

You are being tracked all the time

You may not be aware of this, but every time you visit a web page you are being tracked. Amongst the most prominent trackers you will find Google Analytics - tracking user statistics and bounce rates for most websites on the internet - fair enough, this is valuable feedback to the webmaster and pretty much the single comprehensive way to measure performance.

However, there are a number of other big names to be found who are less inclined to work in your best interests. I am talking about DoubleClick, ADITION and grapeshot - just to name a few!

Let's have a look at one of these companies description:

"Grapeshot is a New York and London based privately-owned keyword technology provider that provides audience and keyword targeting and analytics solutions in open and private programmatic environments. Grapeshot builds connections for brands, publishers, buy-side and supply-side partners using our page crawling algorithm. Grapeshot’s core technology and product suite offers a fully customizable, transparent and scalable solution, giving our clients simple, integrated control over brand safe targeting."

You get it, this is one of those big data analysis companies that collects browser data and sells it to marketing agencies. These companies then use the data to personalize their advertisements and also improve online ads.

These guys are essentially turning the internet into everything that annoys you, using the very data you supply by visiting the pages that deploy their web crawlers.

And you don't even get to see Jack.

So what can I do about this?

There is an awesome add-on for the most popular browsers called Ghostery which identifies, shows and blocks trackers. It's brilliant. It truly is.

Setup Guide

Follow these simple steps to set this bad boy up on your browser and your perception of the internet will never be the same again. I guarantee it.

1. Go to your Add-on shop and search for "Ghostery".

Privacy-Add-On-Search

Available on: Firefox, Opera, Chrome and Internet Expl....nevermind, who uses IE anyway?

2. Install it and restart your browser.

Business as usual.

3. Click on the plugin icon in your browser's top right corner and open the settings menu.

Ghostery-Privacy-Settings

4. In the settings menu, choose "Trackers & Blocking" and set the following parameters.

Tracker-Blocking-Privacy-Browsing

5. Choose "Advanced Blocking" from the Settings drop-down menu. This will take you to a the Ghostery interface with all trackers. Choose "Block all" in the top right corner of the table.

Advanced-Settings-Ghostery-Safe-Web

You saw that right - 1752 trackers designated for advertisement purposes only.
I'm as scared as you are.

6. Go back to the settings and set these parameters for the "Purple box".

Ghostery-Purple-Box-Settings

7. Go to "Support Ghostery" setting in the drop-down. This one is up to you - contribute to their tracker database or don't.

Ghostery-Contribute-Settings

It's gonna be a nope for me, 'cause I'm feeling a little extra paranoid today.

Alright! Your browser is secured now!

It think we ought to try this bad boy out, shall we?



Let's head over to one of the most tracker infested websites on the interwebs: independent.co.uk (Not really, but it's a great example)

Example-21-Trackers-found

Score! Ghostery picked up 21 trackers on this website and indicates this in a purple message box in the top right corner. Is this real life?

Lets click on the Ghostery plugin to investigate further:

Inspect-Site-Trackers

We've got 13 trackers for advertisement purposes only!

Not bad...Independent...not bad.

We need to go deeper. Let's click on the first tracker "Adyoulike" and see what this guy is all about.

Inspect-Tracker-Security

Thought so.

If you want to learn even more about this mischievous tracker, you can click on "view full tracker profile" which will direct you the corresponding entry in Ghostery's database, with further description and a link to the website of the company. How cool is that?

Conclusion

Ghostery is an amazing project which is kept up to date at all times and upgraded every few months or so to keep you safe on the web. It is constantly researching and adding new trackers to their database fueled by the help of it's large community. This is the first extension I install whenever I have to setup a new browser. I'm pretty sure you will do the same, after trying it out. In today's age internet privacy is a major concern for every conscious user as the data collected may well be used against you.

Trackers are everywhere documenting every single step you make on the web every second....but honey badger don't care - honey badger got Ghostery!

Honey-Badger-Really-Dont-Care
a happy honey badger who is using the Ghostery plugin

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and found the guide helpful.


Image sources:
image source 1
image source 2

All other images used here are screenshots made by me.
Information sources:
All information provided here is based on my own experience.
If you want to learn more about this project please visit the official website: www.ghostery.com
More Articles like this:
Do you want to learn how to stake PIVX coins? (Read article)
Do you want to learn how Atomic Swaps work? (Read article)

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great post, as usual!

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Cheers mate, dig your VPN articles :)

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Thanks! I've got a bunch more tech related stuff on the way!

Thanks for the info. Going to check it out. Resteemed - don't have voting power right now :(

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Great! Thank you, appreciate it :)

Too late for even a resteem!

At least I can bookmark and send the link to friends.

Thanks and I've installed.

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Happy that I can help fellow Steemians out :)

head and installed, but that was the end of my surfing. I could not even type in a message here - I first had to stop the addon.
Since you've been using it long enough to reccommend it, do you have any idea what could have caused the problem?

What do you think of the Brave Browser? I think it does a lot of the same things Ghostery does just maybe not to the same extent.

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Look who's here^^ @canadianrenegade,

I really like the brave browser project, like I like everything the Mozilla Project does, however must advise that it is currenty in beta and an unstable version. There is no real way to verify it's functionality as the trackers work behind the scenes.

What Ghostery brings to the table is the option to indentify, analyze and really get to know who the companies are behind the trackers and read more info about them. Once you have been using it for a while you start to see patterns and get a realistic overview of the internet landscape, of the scope of pages you traverse frequently. In my opinion this is a golden feature.

My preferred browser is Mozilla, because of the vast offering of add-ons which I use every day.

The untouched champion of cybersecurity amongst browsers remains Tor. The Tor network is incredible and provides the best layer of anonymity.

My least favorite browser is Google Chrome, as it is a RAM-killer and also you are browsing through a Google interface..........what could go wrong? But I do need it sometimes for Development purposes.

Hope that helps!

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I can't ask my question at top, is blocked:

I went ahead and installed, but that was the end of my surfing. I could not even type in a message here - I first had to stop the addon.
Since you've been using it long enough to reccommend it, do you have any idea what could have caused the problem?

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Hello @arthur.grafo

If you are just seeing Ghostery blocking the comment function with a ghost symbol, you can click on the play button to reload the page with comments enabled. To permanently allow this feature, you would have to remove the blocked form like "Disqus" from the tracker list in ghostery settings.

Is this what you are seeing?

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Sorry, I only meant to give it as an example. I can't use my browser at all, everything takes so long, even to just highlight a sentence happens in slow motion. As soon as I disabled it, everything returned to normal.

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Please tell me, which browser are you using?

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Firefox v52.0.1 (last version for XP users)

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In this case I am afraid that the plug-in may not be compatible with the browser operating on your system. WIndows stopped supporting XP in September 2016 and that may have prompted developers to stop developing with downward compatibility to that Operating System :(

If you want to double check, you may want to install Chrome browser and see if Ghostery works well with it? It is an immense improvement in terms of privacy. However, Chrome is very heavy in terms of memory consumption and probably not ideal for XP.

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It does, thank you. I am going to give Ghostery a try.

Thanks it is shocking how tracked we are, so finding ways to reduce it has to be good! :)
You didn't mention Safari, will this work for Safari too?

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Yes, we live in the age of personalized marketing and these companies will take every piece of data they can to study consumer behaviour. Ah, how could I forget the Apple users :D You're in luck - Ghostery is available for Safari too. Safe browsing!

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Yes how can you forget Apple users?!! Oh cool, thanks! :)

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Also, appreciate the resteem, that is super cool :)

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You're welcome, important information :)

Gut gemacht! Schade, dass du nicht mehr auf Deutsch schreibst. Aber du kannst deine Themen mit Englisch sicherlich besser verbreiten.

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Servus! Schoen das du hier vorbeischaust. So ist es. Ich habe es ueberlegt aber mich dann doch fuer Englisch entschieden da so mehr Leute meine Inhalte lesen koennen. Ausserdem haben die meisten Deutschen relativ gute Englischkenntnisse :)

thanks for sharing,im using it for years now...and very happy with it

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Best plugin out there. Cheers! :)

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yes mate,it is...cheers

Good find. Installed. Cheers

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Great! Get ready to experience the internet in it's true colors. Make sure to check the advanced settings to fine tune it. Let me know if you have any questions :)

I have been using ghostery for a few years now - gratefully

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You know what's up^^

Hey this was a really good resource Nik, cheers man
Just installed mine now - nice one : )

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Awesome! Enjoy a more pleasant and safe browsing experience from now on. It's kinda fun to read the descriptions of the trackers it picks up too, you feel like you're in charge :D

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This deserved a 100% upvote but I would have given 200 if I could have Nik. I think I will resteem this too, it is too valuable not to let others know about it.

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Thank you so much, I really appreciate it! ❤️

Alright I'm all set up thanks!

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Awesome, good to hear that!

Very informative stuff my friend! @rawdawg likes it!👍👍✌️✌️

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Thank you for the feedback, glad you liked it :)

Calling @originalworks :)
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