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Google Finance, Govt, Policy and Business Issues Forum

Confuse Google Tracking with Random User Agent Addon Mod

 6:08 pm on May 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

There has been a lot of interest everytime I mention this trick so I thought I'd post it.


If your using firefox check this out. Download this xpi. Open it with 7zip then open overlay.js inside it by right clicking edit. Simply add this to the last line then close overlay.js and click save/commit changes :


This will make the plugin randomize a new user agent every time firefox is reloaded.



 8:03 pm on May 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

And result in web sites blocking you. Trust me on this. Any web server with good security can detect that and kill the user, IP and all, within a few hits. It's very old hat and a very bad idea.

A much better way of discouraging google is to turn off all javascript and block google cookies emanating from a web site (which is easy with the far more useful NoScript and cookie plugins) and by not using google in any way for searching.

Works for me.


 8:32 pm on May 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

I semi disagree with that. The user agent will be the same for the entire browser session. So subsequent hits will still be the same user agent. The user agent is only changed on the browser restart after all windows have been closed. The remote server therefore thinks that you are a different computer. However, I would like to add a feature that changes the user agent on every page load that could be manually turned on and off as stated in the reviews. I haven't had any problems using the former setup. If you have a situation in which you have to turn it off simply disable the addon. Also enable automatic private browser setting to not store any cookies.

I also believe raw logs are analyzed at Google (why wouldn't they) via things like GoogleAPIs,images, etc. Javascript blockers would have no effect on that.

Yes, you definitely need a good javascript blocker too. But, I am also thinking in terms of minimal annoyance to the user. Noscript isn't practical for the average user so I actually prefer Ghostery when set correctly. Also delete any references to Google safe browsing about:config and just use a different browser addon/antivirus for phishing protection.

With the standard user agent on my browser and noscript etc activated I was still surprised to find out via [panopticlick.eff.org...] that I was one in 7,000. Now with RandomUserAgent I am ~ one in a million with every test.


 9:12 pm on May 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Eeks. None of the above masks your IP which Google gets and matches with your logged in sessions so unless you know of a way to block your IP in a reliable way too it's an effort in futility... and IP is only one of several other tracking methods.

F.Y.I The G+ button at the bottom of this page just recorded your IP. If you have EVER logged into adsense, gmail etc from that IP before Google knows you've been here, and exactly who you are. You can't hide and even if you try you still stick out like a sore thumb for being that guy who's built a unique browser that pings off 'that' network etc.

If you somehow get around all of the above(good luck with that) you are still not anonymous because your internet provider is under legal order to record your every internet action. You can make it harder to be watched, but not much. Using a smart phone or wireless access point? Forget about it, these have even more layers of recording going on.

My suggestion: don't get paranoid. Be knowledgeable about your surroundings but, like a walk in the park, know that you are not private by any means. My only hope is that writing posts like this doesn't land me on some watch list but even if it does... having nothing to hide is the best way to live.


 10:02 pm on May 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Your right about the IP, but it becomes a less accurate method if the user agent is changed and javascript is blocked on trackers because an IP doesn't tell you about how many users are behind it. Those steps could indicate hundreds of users to a tracker.

It's not about doing something nefarious, its about giving the information away for free for nothing. There was a study that shows, if I recall correctly, by using Google your giving away $1000 dollars of personal information a year. I would rather get paid at least $1000 for it. This is all I am saying is that Google doesn't deserve it.

Also, it's really not that hard to change your IP, at least on my cable modem. Eventhough the goal is a more static approach by the ISP so the lease rarely expires . Simple change the MAC of the router and reset the cable modem. I do it once every two or so months. Also theirs plenty of free user friendly proxies like hotspot shield. And its not about being worried about the ISP. It's about the third parties and what they obtain indefinitely and who they sell it to. Something that we have no control of or say in. Which is kind of disturbing in my mind and nefarious.

Also I wanted to add, even if you don't want to use Google, you have to, because their tracking methods all over the internet. It's not optional. You must access Google to use the internet in some way. Not fair.


 8:50 pm on May 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

In general, only one user per IP - two or three if it's a family, maybe a few dozen if it's a company running through a single IP. Doesn't matter about the UA. Why would it matter anyway? Millions of UAs are identical. Given a single IP and multiple UAs within a short time frame, the likelihood is that someone is trying to game the web site - and will get banned if there is any security system on the server.

Google can only know a web site's logs if the site is dumb enough to use GA or is stupid enough to make its logs public. In either case you can discover this and a) block GA (and any G cookies) or b) never visit the web site. If you never use google and block all of G's APIs and scripts then you need not fear G. And, of course, providing you never use G search - or G anything else.

There may appear to be plenty of free proxies but chances are the security-concious sites will be able to detect and block them. Basically, any proxy that is not specifically known to the security system (and is not tagged with an IANA Local IP) should be blocked. There are very few exceptions to that and G is not one of them.

I would say that all of the "precautions" you propose lead to an assumption of trying to game web sites in some way. If your intention is "honourable" you are being far too paranoid about the wrong things. It IS possible to use the internet entirely free of google - I've been doing it for the past few years. I've even stopped buying from sites that insist on G APIs and JS being enabled. How can they track you if you never use them and block all their junk that other web sites throw at you?

What you should be worried about is what you say you are not: ISPs. Some ISPs track your progress, some have been known to use things like Phorm, built on a rootkit by a known exploiter. There are several in operation and little has been done to by-pass them.

And then there are all of the interlinked sites that share cookies - who shouldn't.

And facebook and twitter and linkedin and all the other social sites. Those can be far more dangerous than even G if you are not careful and changing your UA or even IP will not save you there (I use "you" generically and not specifically here).

The list goes on.

If you MUST use fancy avoidance techniques then by all means do so, but do not be surprised when a) you are blocked by a site you really want to visit or b) lose all your information anyway.

One other thing - this is NOT the place to advertise your wares. Even were your idea tenable I doubt anyone would try it based on its prescence here: too much chance of a virus being included. No offence intended to you personally but that's the reason: there is no assurance of a clean tool.

Sgt_Kickaxe - the G+ at the bottom of this page is not at the bottom of this page. I have its JS (and GA's JS) turned off. As I do twitter JS. The only JS I allow on WebmasterWorld is WebmasterWorld. If anything G becomes mandatory on this forum then I will leave.


 2:35 am on May 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

Sgt_Kickaxe - the G+ at the bottom of this page is not at the bottom of this page. I have its JS (and GA's JS) turned off. As I do twitter JS. The only JS I allow on WebmasterWorld is WebmasterWorld. If anything G becomes mandatory on this forum then I will leave.

How do you do that exactly and keep adsense/gmail working? Google denies you service in these if you have JS turned off.


 9:30 pm on May 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

Simple: I never use G at all. :)

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