Is Firefox reporting my email address when I visit a website?

PinkyMacGodess

macrumors 601
Original poster
Mar 7, 2007
4,326
1,123
Midwest America.
I've had this strange feeling that something is reporting my email address when I visit websites.Here's what's happening: I'll go to the MSNBC website and open a lot of tabs for the news items that interest me, and it seems that on some days, like yesterday, I will then get bombed with tons of junk/spam/phishing emails. On days when I don't do that, I seem to skate pretty free from that happening.

I checked in 'about:config' in Firefox, and doing a search there doesn't seem to be an email address field, or that it is mentioning my email address. Is it possible that it's doing it anyway. or is there another software system that might be reporting my email address. At the minimum, I'd like to get it pointed at a sacrificial address, at the most I'd like whatever is doing it to just ducking stop doing it.

I've tried googling for solutions, but can't seem to get the right words to get an answer, or the answer is buried under tons of spammer links from their search engine.

OR is this some cookie that I need to nuke? I just thought of that. Does MSNBC have a cookie loaded with my address and it's just 'helpfully' telling it to everyone. ARG!!!

Thanks all...
 

460works

macrumors newbie
May 13, 2016
8
3
When you connect to the Internet, the Internet (and so many, many websites, services, servers . . .) connect to you. And, they can tag you (your computing devices connected to the Internet), and some may track you.

Given that you are using Firefox, you may want to download and install a Plug-In known as NoScript (https://noscript.net/). At your beginning, of using NoScript, don't fret about learning everything about it; instead, just work with it . . . and you will eventually learn how much effort is being made by *those* websits, services, and servers ("the Internet") to monitor you and collect information about you.

In the collection of such information about you --- some of which is sold / traded amongst the owners, managers, controllers (and unfortunately sometimes, employees who are paid for the info - a black market for personal info) --- and --- as you tour the Internet, some info about you, *precedes* you.

Among that info, may be your e-mail address.

So, basically, a sort of fingerprint or footprint of your computer device, precedes you, and at the instant that you connect to some website, the website knows more about you than you may have imagined.

The same can be said for the realm of near-field communications; where, for example, you walk along a storefront, and your smartphone is active . . . a large LCD display in the store's window, suddenly changes what it is showing, in order to display items that appeal to you - based upon the info that the website-and-store already know about you.

Simply by the fact that you were at some mall and walked by, close enough, to the store.

Eventually, electronic billboards alongside roads, will be doing the same - responding to the info about your car, that the billboard co. (and its Internet'd connections) have.

if you use Google, and Android phone, FaceBook, and other "chattering class" services, you're not helping yourself, to defend your (and your loved ones') privacy.

(Look up Google Analytics and Urchin Tracker, on the Internet. You might want to begin to use a search engine service known as DuckDuckGo.)

IMHO
 

PinkyMacGodess

macrumors 601
Original poster
Mar 7, 2007
4,326
1,123
Midwest America.
And I've got AdBlock Plus and Privacy Badger running. I'll look into this over the weekend.

Some site I visited just bombed me again with crap, almost a dozen in a couple of hours. :mad::mad::mad::mad::mad:
 

phrehdd

macrumors 68040
Oct 25, 2008
3,266
725
I have noticed some sites now have a pop up that blocks access to the site until one undoes adblock. Sites are getting more savy to those of us who are tired of the ridiculous amount of ads and such that bog down our web experience.
 

PinkyMacGodess

macrumors 601
Original poster
Mar 7, 2007
4,326
1,123
Midwest America.
I have noticed some sites now have a pop up that blocks access to the site until one undoes adblock. Sites are getting more savy to those of us who are tired of the ridiculous amount of ads and such that bog down our web experience.
Yep. They want to jam cookies down our throats, and track us everywhere. NOPE NOPE NOPE!!!

Since I have noscript, sites are now complaining about javascript access. Not very comfortable with so many sites using it, but what can you do. They got all of us by the short hairs. If they have something we want, we gotta play their game. I've thought that it would be great if we could run a virtual machine when browsing a site, and nuke it when done leaving no 'residue'.

Think of how many dystopian/cyberpunk novels and movies are about to come true. :-(
 

WarDialer

macrumors member
Nov 22, 2015
58
194
San Jose, CA
At some point you entered your email address to a website to "be notified when something new happens" or made a purchase or downloaded something that requested your email. Now you are "known" to some website, and possibly an ad service as a direct or indirect consequence.

Now when you go around the Internet you are "known" to the ad tracking or some spam network. If you trigger the network by going to MSNBC (ew) you get some activity because the network knows you are active right then e.g. online and are actively looking at the ad or spam network content.

Now I am not saying its your fault that you get spam/fake/phishing emails. However you did some otherwise innocent thing and now you are a data point in some system somewhere. Going to another ad or "infected" website somewhere creates a new data point, and the computers trigger to send crap to you because your online presence is active.

Amazon, Walmart and Target all do this when you buy something. There are also criminal enterprises that do this. Its part of using the Internet.

You could always use a private browsing window in Chrome or Safari - i dont know if Firefox has that feature I never use Firefox.

Another tactic is to make a free gmail or w/e email account specifically to use for random online stuff only. Thus all the spam and phishing junk goes to it and not your proper email.

Also all those "Your Flash player needs updating" alerts are BS. 100% of the time they install AdWare or some other Trojan or Virus that compromises your system.
 

PinkyMacGodess

macrumors 601
Original poster
Mar 7, 2007
4,326
1,123
Midwest America.
At some point you entered your email address to a website to "be notified when something new happens" or made a purchase or downloaded something that requested your email. Now you are "known" to some website, and possibly an ad service as a direct or indirect consequence.

Now when you go around the Internet you are "known" to the ad tracking or some spam network. If you trigger the network by going to MSNBC (ew) you get some activity because the network knows you are active right then e.g. online and are actively looking at the ad or spam network content.

Now I am not saying its your fault that you get spam/fake/phishing emails. However you did some otherwise innocent thing and now you are a data point in some system somewhere. Going to another ad or "infected" website somewhere creates a new data point, and the computers trigger to send crap to you because your online presence is active.

Amazon, Walmart and Target all do this when you buy something. There are also criminal enterprises that do this. Its part of using the Internet.

You could always use a private browsing window in Chrome or Safari - i dont know if Firefox has that feature I never use Firefox.

Another tactic is to make a free gmail or w/e email account specifically to use for random online stuff only. Thus all the spam and phishing junk goes to it and not your proper email.

Also all those "Your Flash player needs updating" alerts are BS. 100% of the time they install AdWare or some other Trojan or Virus that compromises your system.
Yeah, I know about the popups. I also never respond to emails that I get. NO ONE SHOULD!!!

Funny story: I go into my bank, and the teller gives me a concerned look. Says 'We've been trying to contact you about your account and you haven't responded!' I said that I get messages from this bank, and banks and credit card companies that I don't even have an account with every week, so if you want to contact me CALL ME! You have my phone number! I HAD to give it to you. If you need me, CALL ME! I will continue to ignore any emails that come, supposedly, from this, or any other bank or card company, thanks. She looked at me with big eyes, and then said 'That makes sense'. DUH!!!

But, yeah, in this age of shysters running the government, I have definitely sensed a disturbance in the force, and an increase in junk and spam. Heck, I've been getting the 'We want to extend you manufacturers warranty on your car' calls for nearly SIX MONTHS!

The suckage from the bottom is getting very strong. I feel sorry for any kids trying to get an education in this fricking country. They aren't going to get it, and will have to pay more for not getting it! :(

Thanks for the response. I don't use Safari as early in its life, it sucked really hard... :eek:
 

Pakaku

macrumors 68020
Aug 29, 2009
2,159
2,130
I have noticed some sites now have a pop up that blocks access to the site until one undoes adblock. Sites are getting more savy to those of us who are tired of the ridiculous amount of ads and such that bog down our web experience.
Until it turns out it's just CSS half the time, and a simple Stylish script takes care of that completely
 

PinkyMacGodess

macrumors 601
Original poster
Mar 7, 2007
4,326
1,123
Midwest America.
Until it turns out it's just CSS half the time, and a simple Stylish script takes care of that completely
I can understand the drive to block adblockers. Ads are a cheap way to capitalize on a website, however so many of the ads are so invasive and carry risks for visitors security. Adblocking is the best way that users can try to maintain some sanity in this very unfortunately predatory marketplace.

I wouldn't go on the internet now without at least one blocker, and when some of the blockers have 'favorite' advertisers, that just seems eight ways of very wrong. Either they block ALL ads, or they need to make it easier for their users to block, even the 'favorite' ads.
 

LauraJean

macrumors regular
Jan 7, 2015
126
119
Denver, CO
I have noticed some sites now have a pop up that blocks access to the site until one undoes adblock. Sites are getting more savy to those of us who are tired of the ridiculous amount of ads and such that bog down our web experience.
Yeah. The Washington Post pulled that stunt on me. I will say this, so far their ads have been fairly unobtrusive.
 
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Stefan johansson

macrumors 65816
Apr 13, 2017
1,294
606
Sweden
Ad blockers do not work for blocking out their possibility to get your info. An internet security software system where you can manually block spam addresses is a better way. The only thing those ad blockers do,is actually to block pop ups and ad banners on websites,they do definitely not protect you.
 
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bopajuice

Suspended
Mar 22, 2016
1,571
4,310
Dark side of the moon
I always set my browser to delete all history, passwords, auto fill, and cookies when I close the browser. I use private browsing a lot too.

Sounds like your email address is out there. Might be time for a new one.
 
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JamesPDX

Suspended
Aug 26, 2014
1,056
492
USA
I always set my browser to delete all history, passwords, auto fill, and cookies when I close the browser. I use private browsing a lot too.

Sounds like your email address is out there. Might be time for a new one.
Good idea, but Firefox 54.0.1 is still a "secure" browser compared to most others -if you install Calomel SSL Validation and set it up. The free No Script security suite is still my favorite, but you have to be willing to set it up. Finally read over this and do what needs to be done: https://privacytoolsio.github.io/privacytools.io/#webrtc
[doublepost=1499459336][/doublepost]
I can understand the drive to block adblockers. Ads are a cheap way to capitalize on a website, however so many of the ads are so invasive and carry risks for visitors security. Adblocking is the best way that users can try to maintain some sanity in this very unfortunately predatory marketplace.

I wouldn't go on the internet now without at least one blocker, and when some of the blockers have 'favorite' advertisers, that just seems eight ways of very wrong. Either they block ALL ads, or they need to make it easier for their users to block, even the 'favorite' ads.
I still use an AdBlocker because the "tailored ads" scheme is not working on my end. I still see crap that I don't want, (video ads and other animated graphic ads are the worst) on web pages, so although I've "tuned" my Google ad preferences, that AI is not being pushed-out to other websites. So, block I must until I see only categories of things I may actually purchase.
[doublepost=1499460148][/doublepost]
Yeah. The Washington Post pulled that stunt on me. I will say this, so far their ads have been fairly unobtrusive.
Here's an inconvenient truth about the news industry.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world/us_and_canada -I seem to get better US national news coverage there than with the paywalls and adwalls of the big US papers that emptied their newsrooms of hundreds of reporters even after they recovered and started making money again. (Every publisher and senior VP wants a boat and a Gulfstream)
So if I'm going to read re-branded wire stories (and AI-produced) I'm not going to reward the Newhouses of the world.

Back to security, here is a clue why agencies may not be using AI just for writing junior-league sports columns:
https://www.wired.com/2017/02/robots-wrote-this-story/

Get ready.
 

PinkyMacGodess

macrumors 601
Original poster
Mar 7, 2007
4,326
1,123
Midwest America.
Using Cookie helps a lot. I'm not affiliated, just a happy customer.
I remember there was a proposed program from Mozilla to be called 'Cookie Monster' that was supposed to 'deal' with the plethora of cookies. I never heard what happened to that software, but never heard it was released. It was supposed to 'monitor' cookie creation, and usage, and as I remember segregate the cookies from other programs and sites access so no information was exchanged, unwittingly, from one site's cookie(s) to another. They were talking about having something like 'active management' allowing for the timed deletion of cookies, and I believe also supporting the encryption of cookies on the fly for security.

But it's been a long time... I did run into a company called 'Cookie Monster' in New Zealand (actually Cookie Time) and wonder if they might have defended their name and stopped it... Hmm...

It existed apparently, and was killed. Sad...

Wonder what happened.
 

PinkyMacGodess

macrumors 601
Original poster
Mar 7, 2007
4,326
1,123
Midwest America.
Actually I think it's coming from Apple News!

I go through and read a lot of the Apple News articles, and for kicks stopped reading MSNBC, and I got hit with another wave of spam. Interesting...
 

kiwipeso1

Suspended
Sep 17, 2001
646
166
Wellington, New Zealand
I remember there was a proposed program from Mozilla to be called 'Cookie Monster' that was supposed to 'deal' with the plethora of cookies. I never heard what happened to that software, but never heard it was released. It was supposed to 'monitor' cookie creation, and usage, and as I remember segregate the cookies from other programs and sites access so no information was exchanged, unwittingly, from one site's cookie(s) to another. They were talking about having something like 'active management' allowing for the timed deletion of cookies, and I believe also supporting the encryption of cookies on the fly for security.

But it's been a long time... I did run into a company called 'Cookie Monster' in New Zealand (actually Cookie Time) and wonder if they might have defended their name and stopped it... Hmm...

It existed apparently, and was killed. Sad...

Wonder what happened.
Cookie Time has had the cookie monster mascot for 30 years or more, and is considered one of the world's best cookies as supplied across the asia pacific region. The cookies are roughly the same diameter and size as a whopper burger bun.
They are well known for their trademark in New Zealand, Australia, Japan and other countries, as well as the Cookie Time postcards that delivers worldwide.
It's also well known for Xmas mini cookie buckets sold around workplaces and malls in a variety of flavours or gluten free choc chip.
 

PinkyMacGodess

macrumors 601
Original poster
Mar 7, 2007
4,326
1,123
Midwest America.
Cookie Time has had the cookie monster mascot for 30 years or more, and is considered one of the world's best cookies as supplied across the asia pacific region. The cookies are roughly the same diameter and size as a whopper burger bun.
They are well known for their trademark in New Zealand, Australia, Japan and other countries, as well as the Cookie Time postcards that delivers worldwide.
It's also well known for Xmas mini cookie buckets sold around workplaces and malls in a variety of flavours or gluten free choc chip.
I know. I smuggled a few out with me in my carry-on after a holiday in Australia/New Zealand. Their chocolate chip cookie helped me survive the trip. That and Vanilla Coke Zero, which I have never seen anywhere else except those computerized vendors in restaurants. It was a memorable trip. Loved it, every minute.
 
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