How to detect, remove and prevent the installation of 'Web Bugs'

Discussion in 'privacy problems' started by Fly, Jan 25, 2008.

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  1. Fly

    Fly Registered Member

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    The title says it all. A proxy server, certain software, other things should help me with this. (But using a proxy server has its own disadvantages)

    I have read several articles about the subject.

    Web bugs, sometimes also called 'beacons', are ways to track people/computers without using cookies. (See: http://w2.eff.org/Privacy/Marketing/web_bug.html)

    I know that McAfee has a privacy service (yes, I still have McAfee on my system, I'm looking for a replacement), but that's a bit like putting the fox in the henhouse, considering the data sharing arrangements McAfee has with Doubleclick and others.

    I'd welcome some advice with regard to software and other ways to deal with this issue.

    Secondary issue: I suppose it's impossible to keep your IP private if you don't use a proxy server or anonymizer tool, but what about your 'super-cookie' (reference www.grc.com, Steve Gibson)/machine name that's unique for your computer and can be read by about anyone ? Any way to hide it ?
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2008
  2. acr1965

    acr1965 Registered Member

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    I had AdMuncher back when I was on XP and it supposedly blocked web bugs. You could ask more specifically about the web blocking ability in the AM forum.

    http://www.admuncher.com/forum/
     
  3. Fly

    Fly Registered Member

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    Thank you.

    But is there perhaps anything that is good, and FREE, for IE 7 ? (not just on a trial basis). And of course trustworthy, more or less meaning without spyware/adware behaviour.
     
  4. acr1965

    acr1965 Registered Member

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    Although not a web bug blocker, bugnosis can alert you if a web bug is present. If I run across anything else I'll post it.

    http://www.bugnosis.org/

    Also, I believe in IE7 if you block all third party cookies and prompt for first party cookies you can usually keep out most web bugs. In IE7 go to Internet Options-->Privacy-->Advanced and see how your cookie handling is set up. I believe you can "allow" session cookies. Also, FWIU, cookie technology has advanced a bit recently so I am not sure how effective this set up is. But this with a combo of bugnosis could give some clues.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2008
  5. Long View

    Long View Registered Member

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  6. Firebytes

    Firebytes Registered Member

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    If you use Firefox you can install the NoScript extension which can be configured to block web bugs on untrusted sites.
     
  7. EASTER

    EASTER Registered Member

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    Nostalgia :)

    I used to use Bugnosis when all we had was Win98/me and such. Interesting tool and at the time didn't even know what those web bugs were for.
     
  8. innerpeace

    innerpeace Registered Member

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    Thanks, I didn't know this. I took a look and it's under the 'Advanced' tab and below it click the 'Untrusted' tab and then check 'Forbid "Web Bugs"'. :thumb:
     
  9. Fly

    Fly Registered Member

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    Too bad IE 7 does not have it. Not to get into an argument here, but Firefox isn't necessarily safer than IE 7.
     
  10. cheater87

    cheater87 Registered Member

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    I just enabled Noscript's option to forbid web bugs. I feel safer already. ^_^
     
  11. innerpeace

    innerpeace Registered Member

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    Hi, please keep in mind that the restriction only applies to sites you set as untrusted.
     
  12. tlu

    tlu Guest

    Yes, but if you whitelist a site you trust, all frames on that site pointing to 3rd party sites (many of them trackers) are still blocked.

    BTW: I would combine Noscript with Adblock Plus and subscribe the ABP Tracking Filter list.
     
  13. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

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    Wat about Opera?
     
  14. wat0114

    wat0114 Guest

    My thanks also for pointing this out :) I've only just recently used NoScript w/FF and so far it seems mighty impressive. As far as IE7 goes, just make sure it's fully patched, disable any add-ons (Tools-> Manage Add-ons) you don't need and perhaps under: Tools->Internet options->Privacy increase level to Medium-high. I'm not sure about 3rd party utilities that could be useful.
     
  15. innerpeace

    innerpeace Registered Member

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    A whitelisted site still blocks web bugs? If so, is it NoScript or Firefox doing the blocking?

    I've been using EasyList (USA), EasyElement and the ABP Tracking Filter :thumb:.
     
  16. Mele20

    Mele20 Former Poster

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    You could install the Proxomitron to get rid of web bugs.
    http://www.castlecops.com/downloads-file-270.html

    I'm using Sidki's configs (forum at castlecops) with two new configs from GRC newsgroups to block the favicon cookies that Firefox 2 (Firefox 3 beta is patched already but 2 will not be) lets through and that causes Firefox to fail the GRC third party cookie test. IE is better IF you use the advanced cookie configuration in IE and it doesn't have a favicon cookie hole like Firefox.

    GET /css/cache/Canadian.51ae3f7f6df025df394e0b65709f68e7.css HTTP/1.1
    Host: i.dslr.net
    User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.8.0.11) Gecko/20070312 Firefox/1.5.9.9
    Accept: text/css,*/*;q=0.1
    Accept-Language: en-us,en;q=0.5
    Accept-Encoding: gzip, x-gzip, deflate
    Accept-Charset: ISO-8859-1,utf-8;q=0.7,*;q=0.7
    Keep-Alive: 300
    Referer: http://i.dslr.net/
    If-Modified-Since: Fri, 21 Sep 2007 20:33:46 GMT
    Connection: keep-alive
    Match 24614: <img>... Remove: Webbugs 7.06.17 [sd] (d.1)
    Match 24614: <a>: BASE16 to ASCII 6.05.21 (multi) [gz sd] (d.2 l.3)
    Match 24614: <a>: BASE16 to ASCII II - No Hit -> Undo 5.10.11 (multi) [sd] (d.1 l.3)
    Match 24614: <img>... Remove: Webbugs 7.06.17 [sd] (d.1)
    Match 24614: <img>... Remove: Webbugs 7.06.17 [sd] (d.1)
    Match 24614: <img>... Remove: Webbugs 7.06.17 [sd] (d.1)
    Match 24614: <img>... Remove: Webbugs 7.06.17 [sd] (d.1)
    Match 24614: <img>... Remove: Webbugs 7.06.17 [sd] (d.1)
    Match 24614: <img>... Remove: Webbugs 7.06.17 [sd] (d.1)
    Match 24614: <img>... Remove: Webbugs 7.06.17 [sd] (d.1)
    Match 24614: <img>... Remove: Webbugs 7.06.17 [sd] (d.1)
    Match 24614: <img>... Remove: Webbugs 7.06.17 [sd] (d.1)
    Match 24614: <img>... Remove: Webbugs 7.06.17 [sd] (d.1)
    Match 24614: <img>... Remove: Webbugs 7.06.17 [sd] (d.1)
    Match 24614: <img>... Remove: Webbugs 7.06.17 [sd] (d.1)
    Match 24614: <img>... Remove: Webbugs 7.06.17 [sd] (d.1)
    Match 24614: <img>... Remove: Webbugs 7.06.17 [sd] (d.1)
    Match 24614: <img>... Remove: Webbugs 7.06.17 [sd] (d.1)
    Match 24614: <img>... Remove: Webbugs 7.06.17 [sd] (d.1)
    Match 24614: <img>... Remove: Webbugs 7.06.17 [sd] (d.1)
    Match 24614: <img>... Remove: Webbugs 7.06.17 [sd] (d.1)
    Match 24614: <img>... Remove: Webbugs 7.06.17 [sd] (d.1)
    Match 24614: <img>... Remove: Webbugs 7.06.17 [sd] (d.1)
     
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