Useful Tips

Protecting your computer from Internet surveillance


Since the beginning of 2011, browser developers have begun to implement the Do Not Track (DNT) function for tracking them. It notifies sites that the user does not want advertisers to monitor his movements on the Web and collect confidential data about him using cookies. Normally, DNT is off by default. To activate it, follow these steps:

Firefox: go to "Settings" → select the "Privacy" tab and check the box "Tell sites that I don’t want to be tracked"

Chrome: open "Settings" → on the screen that opens, click on the link "Show advanced settings" (below) → in the "Personal data" section, check the box next to "Send outgoing traffic request" Do not monitor. There it also recommends unchecking " Predict network actions to speed up page loading "and" Automatically send usage statistics and crash reports to Google. "

Internet Explorer: “Settings” → “Security” → “Send Do Not Track Requests” → click on the “Enable” button

Safari: “Settings” → go to the “Privacy” tab → and check the box next to “Prevent websites from tracking me.”

Opera: "Settings" → section "Privacy and Security" → check "Send request 'Do not track' with data." Optionally, the checkboxes next to "Use the prediction service to auto-complete the search query or link in the address bar" and "Predict network actions to optimize page loading" can be removed

Enabling this option, however, does not mean that sites will immediately stop bothering you with "targeted" ads. So far, DNT is advisory in nature. It only informs sites about the desire of users to stop monitoring them, but does not give any guarantees that advertisers will fulfill this request.

In addition, there is no agreement yet on exactly how the DNT should work. On the one hand, more and more users do not want to be monitored. According to a survey conducted by Forrester Research in March 2013, 18% of Internet users turned on DNT. On the other hand, advertisers oppose this system, insisting that behavioral advertising is an integral part of free web services. In 2014, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is expected to clarify this issue by adopting the DNT mechanism as a standard and making its implementation mandatory.

Disabling DNT is not yet a panacea. We also recommend installing a browser extension that will block advertising cookies. One of the best plug-ins of this kind (for Firefox and Chrome) is Ghostery, which detects behavioral beacons, analytic bugs and advertising cookies of Facebook, Google Adsense, Yandex.Metrics, DoubleClick and hundreds of other advertising networks.

This is how Ghostery behaves on Twitter
Ghostery is very easy to use and, importantly, translated into Russian. After installing the add-on, a counter will appear on the browser navigation bar informing you of the number of bugs found on the site. For example, going to Twitter, you will see one Google Analytics bug, on Apple - Omniture (Adobe Analytics) beacon, and in the Yandex news section - Yandex.Direct and Yandex.Metrics bugs. To block them, you need to click on the icon with the image of a ghost and move the switches to the right.

In early 2012, Google adopted a new privacy policy. The meaning of the document, which entered into force in March, was that the largest Internet search engine has the right to combine the data of the same person in different services of the company and use this information to display advertising. For example, Google will be able to remember what request the user entered into the search engine and show an ad that might interest him. Information is collected on all 60 company-owned services, including Gmail, YouTube video hosting, Google Maps, and others. However, users could not refuse these changes. The company itself said that the new rules will allow it to improve the accuracy of search results, as well as improve the functionality of other services.
Despite the Glass smart glasses and other experimental projects, the Chrome browser and even the Android platform, it is online advertising that remains Google’s most important source of revenue. The company makes huge profits from contextual ads that take into account your interests, and it is not so easy to limit their display.

First you need to find out what data is available to Google services. You can do this in the "My Account": here you can find information about Android-devices tied to your account, downloaded videos to YouTube, files in the "Documents", tasks, contacts, events in the "Calendar", Gmail letters, etc.

Google Dashboard. If you don’t use some services, delete your data from them (for example, Picasa Web Albums) and limit access to strangers to them as much as possible.
If you downloaded the smartphone app and allowed it access to the task list, Google+ account or other information, untie it (for example, “Account” → “Related applications and sites”, YouTube → “Connected accounts”, Google+ → “Application management”). Also, prohibit the recording of location history ("Location History" → "Settings" → on the new page, select the checkbox next to Disable and click the Save button, after which do not forget to clear the history of your locations by clicking on the History management link).

Clear YouTube browsing history
Carefully go through all the other settings, as the most important ones are buried quite deeply. In the YouTube section, we recommend entering into "History Management", clicking on "Clear browsing history", and then on - "Pause recording browsing history". Do the same in "Managing Search History": clear the history and pause recording. If you wish, restrict access to your subscriptions and videos you like (section "Privacy Settings").

Google+ profile settings
Google+ settings depend on your preference. Here you can, for example, prohibit showing your profile in Google search results, prohibit disclosing your location, prohibit adding EXIF ​​data to uploaded images and more.

Google Ads Settings - Google Ads
Go to the Google Ads settings and see how advertisers see you: gender, age category, language skills and interests are listed here. If you do not want this information to go to agencies, in the Opt-out settings section, click on the opt out links and confirm the refusal. You will still see ads, but it will not depend on your interests and visits to partner sites. Important: the data about your refusal is stored in cookies, so if you delete cookies or change your browser, you will have to refuse again.

Google Search History Settings
By default, Google stores any information you have ever searched for. If you do not want this, go to the Google Search settings and click on the Turn off button, then delete all the previously accumulated history (check the box and click on the Remove items button).

With the largest Russian search engine, everything is a little easier. At the very bottom of the search results settings ("Personal Search" block), uncheck all the daws and stop recording history

Go to "My Finds", stop recording the history of search queries, click the "Clear History" button, and then turn off the finds in the search tips

Search hints (they appear in the drop-down menu when entering a query in Yandex) can be left, previously forbidden to include your own queries in them and cleared the history. In addition, it’s best to exclude the sites you visit most often from the tips. After setting the settings, do not forget to click on the "Save" button below. Also, if a large banner on the main page of a search engine bothers you, turn it off here

The most important setting regarding the Yandex.Direct advertising system, as usual, is located at the very bottom. "Yandex displays ads on affiliate platforms taking into account the individual interests of users, which are determined by their behavior on Yandex and on sites participating in the Yandex Advertising Network," the company says.

If you do not want Yandex to save cookies in your browser, and its partners take your interests into account when displaying ads, check the box next to "Do not take into account your interests when displaying ads" and click on the "Save" button
"Facebook does not grant third-party applications or ad networks the right to use your name or photos in advertisements. If we allow this in the future, you can choose the settings that will govern the use of your information," the site of the largest social network says. Nevertheless, it is better to be safe in case the company starts selling your names and photos.

Open "Settings" → "Advertising", click on the "Edit" link (to the right of the "Third Party Sites" block), set the value to "None" and click "Save Changes"

If you don’t want you and your friends to advertise what you like, in the "Advertising and friends" section, set the value to "None"

And the most important (as always, written in the smallest font): prevent Facebook from showing ads related to your actions on the social network and beyond, as well as in applications from third-party developers. Follow this link and click on the "Opt out" button.

Turning off targeted ads on Twitter is easy. Go to "Settings" → the "Security and Privacy" section, scroll to the end and uncheck the following items: "Adapt Twitter based on recently visited web pages" and "Advertising is selected individually and is based on information from advertising partners." Then click on the “Save Changes” button.

"In contact with"
It is impossible to refuse targeted advertising in the most popular social network on Runet. Ads are shown on the basis of the information that you indicated in your profile: city, age, interests, university, groups, etc. You can only hide hidden ads by hovering the mouse over it and clicking on the cross - but then another will appear in its place. In case you don’t want to see ads at all, install a browser blocker extension such as AdBlock Plus. You can clean the city, set the age of more than 90 years, and indicate the place of residence in an unknown country, in this case, you most likely will not receive relevant targeted advertising without an ad block.

Browser settings

Recently, DNT (Do Not Track - do not track me) has appeared in all popular browsers. Its purpose is to notify visited sites of the unwillingness of the user to monitor him. Unfortunately, the inclusion of the DNT function does not guarantee that sites that have received a request that users do not want to monitor them will not stop spying. Let's figure out how to activate it DNT.

We open in the main menu "Settings", then "Privacy". In the "Tracking" section, set the checkbox on the item "Use protection from tracking" and click "Change block list." In the new window we set the desired option.

Open "Settings", click at the bottom of the "Advanced Settings" window. In the "Personal data" section, check the box "Send a ban on tracking with outgoing traffic."

In the main menu, select “Settings”, then go to “Security” and in the “Confidentiality” section, check the box “Send sites the“ Do Not Track ”heading.

Plugin Installation

As you might have guessed, turning on DNT is not enough for advertisers to stop following you. Installing the Ghostery plugin will help block advertising cookies. There is a version for Chrome and Firefox.

After installation, the plugin icon will show the number of found and blocked "bugs". By clicking on the icon, you can disable the services that installed the "bugs".

The Adblock Plus plug-in works very well with the function of blocking excess advertising.

Expert Home 4 - a program for tracking a computer

So, download the program from the link below. Do not rush to install. There are features that I will discuss later.

Operating System: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8,

Language: Russian, English,

After downloading the installation file, run it. In the first window you need to select the language and click "Next".

Then accept the license and click "Next."

Now the fun part. The computer tracking program will open by a secret key combination consisting of four keys. The first three are Ctrl + Shift + Alt, and the fourth is up to you. It can be any letter that can be selected from the list.

In the same window there is a field in which you need to enter the password that will be requested after entering the secret key combination.

After selecting a letter and entering a password, click Next.

Verify that all data is correct and click Install.

Wait for the installation of Expert Home 4 to complete, and in the last window, click the Close button. All! The program has already begun its work and monitors all user actions. As you will notice, no traces of the program are visible.

To run a program to monitor a computer and view its report, you need to enter a secret key combination. After that, a window will appear in which you should write down the password that you thought up during installation. And then you will see the program interface - the Expert Home 4 control center. It consists of two sections - “Reports” and “Advanced”.

I will first consider the “Reports” section:

Keyboard. This is a keylogger, that is, there is a report on pressing each key on the keyboard. You can see what and in what program was written by the user. It is possible to choose a date for the report.

Screenshots The program for tracking a computer periodically takes hidden screenshots of the screen and here you can see them. It is also possible to select the archive date. In addition, you can control the screenshots using the buttons below.

Programs. Displays which programs and when they were launched. You can see the title of the programs, the name of the executable file and other data useful for analysis.

Food. Here you can analyze when the computer was turned on and off.

Activity. The activity of computer users is displayed.

Now I will consider the "Advanced" block, which also consists of several important sections.

Internet monitoring. The program for tracking a computer allows you to transfer report files over the Internet in encrypted form. They can be viewed in the file storage Softex (program developer). That is, reports can be viewed remotely. To start, click the "Allow Remote Tracking" button.

Then you will receive a link, login and password for viewing reports.

In addition, reports can be sent by e-mail. To do this, click on the link that I showed in the screenshot and enter the necessary mail.

Settings All possible settings are collected here. I will not tell in detail, I will only mention that here you can change the secret key combination with a password.

Removal. Allows you to remove a computer tracking program along with reports. Note that Expert Home 4 does not appear in the list of programs, so you can only delete it here.

Reference. Everything is clear here and no explanation is required.

Google service settings

Don’t forget that Google saves everything you searched for before. This setting can be disabled: on the main page of the search engine, select the menu, in it "Search Settings".

Go to the appropriate section, where there is data on the history of surfing.

Each record about the visited resource can be deleted.

Social networks

Like or repost publications on social networks, you thereby give information about your interests to advertisers. Here, too, you can try to correct the situation.

Go to the main menu, select the "Settings" item in it and the "Advertising" section in it.

By clicking “Edit”, set the desired settings for Facebook advertising.

Click on the icon of your profile, select "Settings". Go to the "Security and Confidentiality" section.

We make the necessary changes in the paragraphs “Individualization” and “Advertising”.

If all else fails

Want to be 100% sure of the anonymity of surfing the Web and that your connections will not be visible to annoying advertisers? Install the free Tor browser, working on the principle of a chain of proxy servers, built between you and the site. Servers are selected randomly each time, intermediate data is encrypted - it is impossible to obtain information about the user.