NEW RESEARCH: More than half of the top 100 URLS are tracking you

Security & Privacy

You’ve probably never heard of most of the 100 top URLs in world.

In fact, most users have no idea that they’ve even accessed most of the 89 domains the average user interacts with in a month.

A new F-Secure Labs study of the top 100 URLS accessed by customers all over the globe shows that of the world’s top URLs only 15% were accessed directly. The remaining 85% were accessed by other websites or software on the users PCs. Of the 85% accessed automatically, 10% come from ad-serving domains, 35% are ad-serving domains with tracking components and 19% are purely tracking domains.

This means that at least half of the URLs your browser accesses are not providing you any content. Instead, you are the content, providing anonymous marketers precious information about your interests, tastes and lifestyle.

“We are more honest with search engines than we are with our families,” F-Secure Chief Security Officer Mikko Hypponen said recently. “Search engines know more about you than your family members know about you.”

But the NSA, Google and Facebook aren’t the only ones tracking your online behavior. Nearly every site you load, every link you click is sending your information to be recorded possibly for eternity, given the how inexpensive it is to store data.

And when connecting through “free public Wi-Fi”, the risks of data loss only escalate.

Users of Freedome by F-Secure – the next generation VPN solution that allows you to become untraceable — have become intimately aware of how much tracking is aimed at them. Freedome alerts users of every blocked attempt to track a device through a site or an app. In just a few weeks, the average user is likely to see thousands of attempts to trace activity blocked.

“The trackers are not going away,” said F-Secure’s Director of New Concepts Janne Pirttilahti. “Their goal is to monetize every second of your life whether you are opening your wallet or not.”

Pirttilahti notes we cannot even know how our data will be used as new ways to predict and influence our behavior are developed.

“That’s why they’re trying to track everything you do. They don’t even know everything they want to know yet. Your privacy is the cost of using the web—unless you actively protect yourselves with a solution like Freedome.”

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