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Report: NSA Uses Google's "PREF" Cookie For Tracking

5:28 pm on Dec 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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According to the documents, the NSA and its British counterpart, GCHQ, are using the small tracking files or "cookies" that advertising networks place on computers to identify people browsing the Internet. The intelligence agencies have found particular use for a part of a Google-specific tracking mechanism known as the “PREF” cookie. These cookies typically don't contain personal information, such as someone's name or e-mail address, but they do contain numeric codes that enable Web sites to uniquely identify a person's browser.

In addition to tracking Web visits, this cookie allows NSA to single out an individual's communications among the sea of Internet data in order to send out software that can hack that person's computer. The slides say the cookies are used to "enable remote exploitation," although the specific attacks used by the NSA against targets are not addressed in these documents.Report: NSA Uses Google's "PREF" Cookie For Tracking [washingtonpost.com]

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8:50 pm on Dec 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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run bleach bit once a week, or at the end of everyday.
12:14 am on Dec 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

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run bleach bit once a week, or at the end of everyday.

How effective is it?

do we really know that it works?
5:11 am on Dec 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Cookies from "partners" are out of hand on most major sites.

While I was reading an L.A. Times article about the NSA data collection, something else that's been happening more and more lately made me load up the console. The page never finished loading... this is happening on more and more large sites -- javascripts pinging the server forever...

I loaded the page at 6:14:00 or so...

Long after I stopped moving the cursor or scrolling the page, it kept humming along, collecting my "lack of data", (which is, in-effect, data).

06:34:56.129 GET [livepassdl.conviva.com...] [HTTP/1.1 200 OK 80ms]
06:36:38.288 GET [ping.chartbeat.net...] [HTTP/1.1 200 OK 120ms]
06:37:44.504 GET [content.newsinc.com...] [HTTP/1.1 304 Not Modified 70ms]
06:38:08.262 GET [ping.chartbeat.net...] [HTTP/1.1 200 OK 101ms]
06:38:23.690 GET [ping.chartbeat.net...] [HTTP/1.1 200 OK 40ms]
06:38:38.255 GET [ping.chartbeat.net...] [HTTP/1.1 200 OK 40ms]
06:38:53.253 GET [ping.chartbeat.net...] [HTTP/1.1 200 OK 40ms]
06:39:23.254 GET [ping.chartbeat.net...] [HTTP/1.1 200 OK 351ms]

This went on for 25 minutes, (at which time I disabled javascript so I could stay on the page but not allow any more GETs).

Below is an alphabetic list of all the "partners" and LA Times properties that were serving and mostly collecting data --

DOMAIN ... About/Notes/Server response, etc
2mdn.net ... Server not found

adadvisor.net ... blank page

adap.tv ... industry's largest TV and video advertising marketplace

adsrvr.org ... Error 404

auditude.com ... (Adobe) ad performance to arrive at a single "engagement ROI" metric — data on how engagement translates directly to revenue

bluekai.com ... works with websites to aggregate anonymous activities and enables marketers to provide more targeted online advertising.

chango.com ... Chango and Twitter partnership delivers #tailored_audiences Leverage your data and our data to build custom tailored audiences

chartbeat.net ... transform the intricacies of your site’s real-time data into simple, beautiful insight.

cmcore.com ... Server not found

conviva.com ... The Global Leader in Preemptive Video Stream Optimization

crwdcntrl.net ... Match content with visitor interests to increase engagement and brand loyalty.

doubleclick.net ... the ad technology foundation to create, transact, and manage digital advertising for the world's buyers, creators and sellers.

dyntrk.com ... Server not found

edgefcs.net ... Server not found

egolas-media.com ... Server not found

eqads.com ... provide a smarter way to target customers and reach your audience.

exelator.com ... Server not found

eyeviewads.com ... Server not found

facebook.com ... Facebook

flashtalking.com ... ad serving, tag management

gigya.com ... Connected Consumer Management

google.com ... Google

google-analytics.com ... Google, analytics

googlesyndication.com ... Google, ad serving

imrworldwide.com ... Server not found

latimes.com ... online newspaper

lphbs.com ... Server not found

mathtag.com ... places cookies, on behalf of its customers, on the computers of visitors to our selected customer's websites

newsinc.com ... Digital Media Exchange

perfectmarket.com ... comprehensive set of adaptive tools for increasing traffic, engagement and revenue on your site.

pictela.net ... (AOL)

quantserve.com ... Quantcast Measurement Service

revsci.net ... Server not found

rubiconproject.com ... automating the buying and selling of advertising.

scorecardresearch.com ... a service of Full Circle Studies, Inc., is part of the comScore, Inc. market research

spotxchange.com ... video advertising platform

tubemogul.com ... video ads

twitter.com ... Twitter

tynt.com ... inserts the page URL when your content is pasted into emails and social sites.

w55c.net ... 1x1 gif pixel (beacon)


*NOTE: all the "server not found" responses were from entering just the domain name in a web browser.