Feeds

Web bugs thrive like cockroaches

Up 488 per cent over the last three years and they're even on The Reg

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Updated Use of Web bugs, or online hidden information collectors, has increased 488 per cent in the past three years, according to a survey of corporate Internet sites published today.

A study of a random sample of more than one million Internet pages gathered between 1998 and 2001, using Internet intelligence technology from Cyveillance, revealed that eight of the top 50 brands had Web bugs on their home pages. These were often just one click away from stated privacy policies, which frowned on the technique.

Web bugs, objects such as frames or images, are imbedded on a Web site and cause part of the Web page to be retrieved from a different site. In the process, this second web site gets to know who visited the original site.

These web bugs can be used to verify email addresses and collect IPs of users, although a while back we ran an article where Register readers, you devious lot, suggested far more nefarious uses for Web bugs. That said, for the most part Web bugs are judged to be fairly benign.

Cyveillance tried to spin the results of the survey to suggest Web bugs may undermine building a good reputation for a brand but we reckon the more interesting point to note from the survey is how widely used Web bugs are. ®

Updated

Time to declare an interest. Although I wasn't aware of it at the time of writing this story, El Reg's home page carries a Web bug from Vibrant Media. Readers spotted this using a tool called Bugnosis.
Our privacy policy says that we're not responsible "for the privacy policies of linked Web sites, advertisers or advertisement serving companies". I hope this clarifies the situation.
Irony, we've heard of it.

Related Stories

Official: Microsoft is the Net's biggest bugger
Fun with Internet bugs
E-mail 'bug' danger overstated?
E-mail wiretapping used to spy on corporate communications
JavaScript makes e-mail bugging easy

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Google recommends pronounceable passwords
Super Chrome goes into battle with Mr Mxyzptlk
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
Reddit wipes clean leaked celeb nudie pics, tells users to zip it
Now we've had all THAT TRAFFIC, we 'deplore' this theft
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
TorrentLocker unpicked: Crypto coding shocker defeats extortionists
Lousy XOR opens door into which victims can shove a foot
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.