6 Things Every Website/App You Use Knows About You


As a developer and webmaster, I'd say I've learnt quite a lot of things. I find it a little bit amusing when I see people change their privacy settings on social networks to prevent tracking. All my social media accounts are public because I know everything is being tracked. Unless of course I have a legitimate reason to go anonymous.

Websites normally track a whole lot of user data. This is normally done so the site can serve users better and also to help the webmaster/developer improve the website or the mobile application

These days we live so much of our lives online and  personal information is becoming very vulnerable.

You may know the best ways to stay safe online by avoiding funny looking sites, using a strong anti-virus  – but are you aware of just how much information any website or app can collect about you just from you navigating through them?

I'll outline 6 ways your information is being exposed through your normal, everyday browsing.

Your Current Location

Google’s Geolocation API is usually used by websites to get a very good idea of where you are. Although most times it's not always too accurate but it could show your current city or sometimes it can be very accurate by showing your street address. More accurate location data can be gotten from you usually when you are connected to a public WiFi network.

You’re better off  browsing on a mobile network because the error rate on mobile devices can be up to 50 kilometers from your exact location.

Websites and Apps can also detect your phone orientation through the accelerometer. This can let the sites and apps determine whether you’re holding your device or using it on a flat surface

Information On Your Device Hardware

Every single detail. From the processor your phone is running, the exact make and model of your GPU,your screen resolution, the phone you're using. Everything.

Some Websites even know what percent your battery is at and whether or not you are currently charging.

Information On Your Device Software

Quite a number people know that when they visit any site, their browser allows the site know what operating system and browser they’re using. This actually helps content producers get a better feel for their audience and cater to them more specifically.

However, some websites can also see what plugins you have installed and whether you’re currently logged into accounts like Facebook, Twitter, and Google.

Don't worry, nobody snoops on your passwords. Unless of course you hit a suspicious link. I'll highlight how to prevent being hacked online in an upcoming post.

The Network You're Using

Websites/Apps have access to your local and public IP addresses and can identify which computer or mobile phone you’re using on any network.

Sites also know the service provider you're using and the kind of internet service you’re using since they can also calculate your download speed.

Places You've Been To

Additionally websites  also know your browsing history. They know the site you visited before to arriving on theirs. If you usually use some very bad websites, then this might be of some concern to you.

Identify Exactly Who You Are

This last one is mostly limited to less reputable websites run by hackers.

Clickjacking is a technique some websites use to manipulate your actions so you end up doing things that you may not have intended. You may click a link that looks legitimate but if you’re also logged into Facebook, that link can make you like a Facebook page unintentionally without your consent.

This information can be used to find out your exact identity. Anything you’ve supplied Facebook: your name, your pictures, your occupation, your family members, your interests… everything is potentially at a malicious website’s fingertips.

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I'm a Computer Science Student of The University of Port Harcourt and a Chelsea Fan. I love RnB and A little Trap Music. Tech flows in my veins. I love to have fun with friends and I read a lot. 

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