Can websites and internet associations track what OS/computer you use?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by applefan289, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. applefan289 macrumors 68000

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    #1
    I was just wondering if associations that keep statistics of website traffic or just general internet statistics can tell what OS/computer you are running.

    Meaning, with the amount of iPhones sold (and iPads), have the internet statistics shown that many people access the internet through Apple devices, for example?

    I'm not sure if my question is clear, so let me know if it's not and I'll explain more.
     
  2. miles01110, Sep 29, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 30, 2011

    miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #2
    Yes, websites can and do track what computer/OS you use.
     
  3. applefan289, Sep 29, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 30, 2011

    applefan289 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #3
    When you say websites, do you mean the statistics of the traffic that visits the website? Also, can a general association that focuses on internet traffic gather data about what the majority uses, etc.?
     
  4. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #4
    Both. Go to www.google.com and look up "browser market share." Or look up "browser fingerprint."
     
  5. mdnz macrumors regular

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  6. applefan289 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #6
    Very cool website. That answers my question.
     
  7. RawBert macrumors 68000

    RawBert

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    #7
    Google Analytics (free tracker) will even give you details like:
    • Flash Version
    • Java Support
    • Screen Resolution
    • Screen Colors
    • Operating System (Desktop and Mobile)
    • Browser
    • Service Provider
    • Connection Speed
     
  8. wackymacky macrumors 68000

    wackymacky

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    #8
    If you worried about what information websites are collecting about you, or you ISP for that matter, you could always consider using a proxy that supports https/SSL/TLS .
     
  9. steve2112 macrumors 68040

    steve2112

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    #9
    They can track all this and much more. The Security Now podcast did a show a few months ago on what they called side-loading info in browsers. It's episode 264 if anyone is interested. Anyway, one of the things they covered was a test the EFF ran. The experiment was called Panopticlick, and it ran some Javascript code that collected tons of info on visitors. So much so that they were able to uniquely identify a huge percentage of users. They called it a unique fingerprint.

    The experimental site was able to collect all of the above stuff plus, info such as screen resolution, installed fonts, time zone, and more. They could also detect what version of a plugin, including Flash, Adobe Reader, Silverlight, Java, Firefox extensions, etc the browser was using. The results? In browsers not running Java or Flash, they were able to establish a unique fingerprint of the browser 84% of the time. On browsers with Java or Flash, it was 94% of the time. By unique fingerprint, they mean they were able to identify a certain visitor as being the only one running a certain combination of software, fonts, screen resolution, etc.

    Fun stuff, eh? :eek:
     
  10. applefan289 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #10
    Wow, that's amazing. I like it though. Of course, privacy matters, but if you're not doing what you're not supposed to do, then it shouldn't matter.

    But I love going on porn sites.
     
  11. InuNacho macrumors 65816

    InuNacho

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    #11
    Says I'm using Opera 9.80 when in reality I'm using 11.51 and it says Camino is Firefox.
    Close enough.
     
  12. skyton macrumors 6502

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    #12
    It gets even more interesting when you look at mouse tracking and screen capture software that you can install on a website.

    Check out Tealeaf and Clicktale for some examples
     
  13. lewis82 macrumors 68000

    lewis82

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    #13
    You could use Firefox and the extension User Agent Switcher. This way your computer would stop broadcasting your browser and OS info everywhere. And if you disable Javascript you can hide all the other stuff (resolution, etc).
     
  14. skyton macrumors 6502

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    england
    #14
    Thats

    ----------

    Thats a big price to pay for losing tracking though!

    So many modern sites depend on JS

    I don't like the idea of being tracked either, but as someone who uses website data as part of their job I do think it is a good thing.

    Website owners can use this data to improve their sites to give visitors a better experience.
     

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