Computer Infested With Web Bugs?

Discussion in 'privacy problems' started by balkin22, Feb 1, 2009.

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  1. balkin22

    balkin22 Registered Member

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    I have questions about the confusing issue of web bugs that a Google search and extensive reading of security pages haven't turned turn up answers to.

    If you save web pages with (or without) images to your computer are you likely to end up with web bugs or web beacons residing on your system? Is there a way to save web pages without this problem. And if you have a lot of web pages already saved on your system, do you need to delete them all to eliminate the web bugs?

    Or will the web bugs (and other similar intrusions?) not be saved?

    Also, is there security software that will detect the web bugs either on web pages or on your system? And can you end up with web bugs just be viewing web pages, since the pages download to your computer?

    I have the most recent version of Internet Explorer and Opera.

    Thanks.
     
  2. arran

    arran Registered Member

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    admuncher filters out web bugs.

    and I think firefox no script does as well
     
  3. Fly

    Fly Registered Member

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    I don't think you can avoid getting and keeping web bugs ('web beacons') if you use your computer the way the average user does. Maybe some special software/services like Xerobank, VPN tunnels, anonymizers etc. can filter out a lot, I'm not sure. Of course, I'm assuming you use a Windows OS.

    Admuncher and noscript ? I don't think they block all web bugs, but I have no experience with this stuff.

    If you wanted to delete web bugs you might be able to do it by means of a program like Window Washer (Webroot) or CCleaner. A bit less intrusive is removing your browser history, but your index.dat file would give away the sites you've visited. Not practical for every day use.
     
  4. JRViejo

    JRViejo Global Moderator

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    balkin22, first, welcome to Wilders! This page: The Web Bug FAQ will answer many questions about Web Bugs.

    There are 2 programs that I know of, that can track Web bugs: Bugnosis Web Bug Detector for Internet Explorer (I don't use IE that much and have not tested this app) and Ghostery, an add-on for Firefox, which I use on FF 3.0.5, working as advertised. Hope the info helps.
     
  5. faterider

    faterider Registered Member

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    If you save pages without images you will not have bugs on your system. They are small linked images that show your IP to the owner of third party site where they reside.

    Like JRViejo say Ghostery is the best way to know if there are any web bugs. It's only for Firefox though. Method to avoid them altogether is "ImgLike Opera" extension for FF (again). It can be made to show images only for the site viewed so the bugs will not exist for you (this extension is the reason that I left Opera btw).

    When I read you I'm having the feeling that you think bugs are something like viruses malicious by it's own? No, these are small empty pics that give up that your IP is viewing specific page to someone who don't need to know that ;)


    added: May be I need to clarify myself, so not to mislead you. If you don't see images doesn't mean there are not micro ones.
    Also yes, saved pages could contain bugs and every time you open them with browser while internet connected bugs will contact the site they are hosted.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2009
  6. balkin22

    balkin22 Registered Member

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    Thank you. Your posts have been very helpful. I downloaded Firefox to give it another try, based on some of the posts, and I plan to try Ghostery and ImgLike Opera. I needed to "de-magnify" the Firefox toolbar and reading space, using the directions it provides, and then set the fonts to 24 to get the web page texts large enough to read. But I can't figure out how to reduce the size of the giant options dialogue box so I can get at all the buttons and controls. I have to keep pulling down my taskbar. I was wondering if anyone knows how to do that? I left Firefox previously because it reverted back a number of times to this magnified toolbar and web site views.
    Also, if I understand correctly, all the web bugs on previously saved web pages won't send information unless I open the saved HTML page. I assume I can use Ghostery to open these pages on my local system and it will still show me the bugs? But I have so many pages saved I think I will have to search for *.gif (and *.jpeg?) and just delete a lot of images on my system. Your thoughts would be much appreciated.
     
  7. balkin22

    balkin22 Registered Member

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    Here is an addendum to the post I just added above. Ghostery is now showing me all kinds of web bugs and aps that gather information, in that little box that appears in the upper right. It is revelatory. Is there a way to get more information on all these from Ghostery or know what is collecting what or interact with Ghostery further? Also, opening locally saved HTML pages, I did immediately find web bugs through Ghostery. But some of these pages download images from the web even when the page is opened locally so it is hard to know what is doing what. Any thoughts would again be appreciated.
     
  8. faterider

    faterider Registered Member

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    Yes correct, they are not programs by itself just links to images that browser requests.


    Use ImgLikeOpera and bugs will not be working. Ghostery just shows them for now (there are requests for blocking to be added). Also you can open your saved pages with browser without internet access. Install second copy of your favorite browser and block it completely with firewall ;)
     
  9. JRViejo

    JRViejo Global Moderator

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    balkin22, keep in mind that when saving Web pages, the Save Page As offers 2 options in Firefox: Web Page, complete and Web Page, HTML only; 4 options in IE: The same 2 as FF plus Web Archive, single file and Text File. The HTML only option will eliminate "most" images but unfortunately, some might get through. The IE Text File option is of course the most viable to get rid of Web bugs.

    If your interest is mainly the text on a Web page, you can do the same by highlighting it, copy and paste into Notepad, then save it. You can add the site's URL to the saved Notepad file for later review.
     
  10. balkin22

    balkin22 Registered Member

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    Faterider: Yes, I plan to start with Ghostery to see what is out there and what is on my system and then switch to ImgLikeOpera to zap the ads. You are also saying that I can install a second copy of Firefox on my system and ZoneAlarm will list each separately and I can then instruct it to not let the second version connect to the web? If that works, it is fascinating.
    JRViejo and Faterider: My Firefox has a save as text file function, but the saved text doesn't have paragraph breaks. Of course, I assume I can save just HTML and if it tries to download ads when I open the HTML page locally, it shouldn't be blocked if I have ImgLikeOpera??
    One of the things I like about Opera is I can highlight, copy and paste the text to Word and it filters out all the images in the transfer. I see that doesn't work in Firefox and I assume from what you say about pasting to Notepad that there isn't an option to do that? I will end up pasting to Notepad and then recopying to Word so I can use the highlighter function in Word.

    PS - I have switched to Firefox as my default browser. So far so good.
     
  11. JRViejo

    JRViejo Global Moderator

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    balkin22, my bad, FF has a Text File save option as well. I stated Notepad because I did not know you had Word. You can copy & paste to Word instead and the formating will transfer.

    If you are using Firefox now, check out the NoScript and Adblock Plus add-ons for more security. Review: Customizing Firefox with add-ons.
     
  12. faterider

    faterider Registered Member

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    Don't forget to set ImgLikeOpera to "Load images for this site only" ;)

    Yes, of course. When the second copy of the browser ask internet access simply deny it .


    You should be able to copy/paste from FF like Opera.
     
  13. balkin22

    balkin22 Registered Member

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    This has been great. The only things unresolved are:

    Do you know how to copy/paste from FF like Opera? I can't find a way to do it without transferring the images to Word.

    I guess no one knows how to reduce the size of that giant options dialogue box that I get. I'll just have to start dragging the task bar down again to get at the buttons.

    Thanks again.
     
  14. JRViejo

    JRViejo Global Moderator

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    See if this helps: Copying, saving, and printing pages.
    By "de-magnify" do you mean Page Zoom? Or Full Screen mode (F11 key)? Or How to customize the toolbar?
     
  15. caspian

    caspian Registered Member

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    What I hate about noscript is that I can't watch a video at google video or elsewhere. Even when I tell it to temporarily allow that site.
     
  16. balkin22

    balkin22 Registered Member

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    JRViejo: The Firefox help pages you provided will give me some good customization material. I was able to resolve the issue with "de-magnifying". The web page text and toolbar, including text & icons, were giant sized. It is resolved at:

    http://support.mozilla.com/en-US/kb...appear too large after upgrading to Firefox 3

    I still have an oversized tools options dialogue box. I took that to the Firefox Forum, but if you have any ideas, I'd be interested. I'll report back any results from there since I raised the issue.
     
  17. JRViejo

    JRViejo Global Moderator

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    Using their support is always the best option so they can fix any bugs, if present. I'd imagine that you already tried uninstalling FF via Add/Remove and reinstalling it? Sometimes going back to square 1, solves many problems.

    Another option: Firefox window is too large or opens off screen
     
  18. JRViejo

    JRViejo Global Moderator

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    I know what you mean but just because you allow a site, it doesn't mean everything is allowed. Take YouTube for example.

    I tweaked NoScript to allow just youtube.com and not the entire site, so I always get the message: "Hello, you either have JavaScript turned off or an old version of Adobe's Flash Player." I do this by design so the videos don't play until I allow ytimg.com and then I can see them. But if one looks at the NoScript Options panel, after allowing ytimg.com, doubleclick.net has suddenly appeared. Allow that and now, googlesyndication.com appears. The more you allow, the more it appears!

    Perhaps you could try "Temporarily allow all this page" to see if that helps your situation.
     
  19. faterider

    faterider Registered Member

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    Don't allow them. Only ytimg should be enough for videos at youtube and google video.
     
  20. JRViejo

    JRViejo Global Moderator

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    faterider, yes, I understand what you are saying and I only allow ytimg.com. And with any other Web site, I allow the bare minimum, if need be. My explanation to caspian was for illustration purposes only. ;)
     
  21. caspian

    caspian Registered Member

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    Thanks buddy I will give that a shot. I appreciate it.
     
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