Browsers collect a lot of your data while you surf the internet, and track all of your activity. You might think that such a practice would be illegitimate, but is in fact used by many advertising and marketing firms to increase their business.
The info is drawn from cookies that are stored in the browser and a recent study shows that 482 out of the top 50,000 websites virtually record all of their user’s activity to analyse their preferences.
In the worst-case scenario, it is quite probable, that hackers use these techniques to steal your data without your knowledge and misuse it to form identities to sell on the dark web.
Not to forget the fact that the data collected by browsers like Google’s Chrome is also used to show you targeted advertisements.
So it is imperative that you know what data your browser collects about you. There are some facts the browser knows for sure once you use it to access the internet.
Hardware and Software
The browser reports critical data about your device’s hardware and software specifications like the OS you are running, browser preferences, CPU and GPU info, battery status and so on. Using this information, hackers can narrow down the optimum method of attack using which they can bypass your system.
The browser can intercept your public and private IP address, the devices’ IP addresses that are connected to your network, upload and download speed, ISP details and so on.
Even though your GPS setting may be turned off, the browser can approximate your location by using the Google GeoLocation API. Other than that, location can also be identified via your mobile network signal or WiFi.
If you’re using a mobile device, the location detected will be well under a 50 km radius.
The browser records all your browsing activity and sure you could delete this data, but recently surfaced news illustrates that Google maintains a record of the data surfed on Chrome even though it was deleted by the user.
By accessing the gyroscope sensors on your device, the browser can make out its orientation. With this info, hackers can deduce whether the phone is in use or not and carry out a suitable attack for that situation.
The social media login info
The browser keeps a record of the account sessions active on your device. This is particularly detrimental in terms of understanding which accounts are left open for hackers to swoop in and get access to it.
You can cross-check the mentioned facts on websites like Webkay that displays this data and sheds a light on what kind of info can be accessed by the browser.
Mouse movement log
A log of all your mouse movements can be accessed by the browser. You can see how this works on the ClickClickClick website.
The above information received by the browser can be used to formulate a fingerprint that is used by many companies to identify their potential customers on the internet. That means even if you access the internet after a week or so, they will be able to recognize you and your preferences.