Monday, January 3, 2011

Web-Beacon or Web Bug

What are Web Beacons (also known as Web Bugs) and Clear GIFs?

Web-Beacon Also called a Web bug or a pixel tag or a clear GIF. Used in combination with cookies, a Web beacon is an often-transparent graphic image, usually no larger than 1 pixel x 1 pixel, that is placed on a Web site or in an e-mail that is used to monitor the behavior of the user visiting the Web site or sending the e-mail. When the HTML code for the Web beacon points to a site to retrieve the image, at the same time it can pass along information such as the IP address of the computer that retrieved the image, the time the Web beacon was viewed and for how long, the type of browser that retrieved the image and previously set cookie values.
Web beacons are typically used by a third-party to monitor the activity of a site. A Web beacon can be detected by viewing the source code of a Web page and looking for any IMG tags that load from a different server than the rest of the site. Turning off the browser's cookies will prevent Web beacons from tracking the user's activity. The Web beacon will still account for an anonymous visit, but the user's unique information will not be recorded.

Why are they invisible images?

Clear GIFs are invisible because they record specific activity on a website or web page rather than deliver content. If visible images were sent to your browser they would clutter up the requested page with irrelevant content.

How do Web Beacons work?

On web pages

Web bugs are typically used by third parties to monitor the activity of customers at a site.
As an example of the way web bugs can make user logging easier, consider a company that owns a network of sites. This company may have a network that requires all images to be stored on one host computer while the pages themselves are stored elsewhere. They could use web bugs in order to count and recognize users traveling around the different servers on the network. Rather than gathering statistics and managing cookies on all their servers separately, they can use web bugs to keep them all together.

In e-mail
Web bugs are frequently used in spamming (sending unsolicited commercial e-mail) as a way of "pinging" to find which spam recipients open (and presumably read) before deleting it.
Tracking in e-mail can be disabled by:
Many web bugs can be avoided by turning off HTML display and displaying only the text.
Turning off the display of images while still using HTML may still allow other techniques to be used.

Web beacons are used by website owners to log activity on their web pages and websites. Their purpose depends on what a site wants to understand about how visitors interact with pages. To see the demonstration how web beacons work,CLICK HERE.

Why do websites use Web Beacons?

Web beacons are used by website owners to log activity on their web pages and websites. Their purpose depends on what a site wants to understand about how visitors interact with pages.

  • Using web beacons site identify:
  • Which online ads attracted visitors to the site.
  • Which of those visitors then visited their online store.
  • Which of those visitors then ordered goods.
  • The sales values of those orders.

How can I block web beacons from executing in my browser (Firefox, Opera, Google Chrome)?

Tracking on web pages can be disabled using a number of techniques.
Turning off a browser's cookies can prevent some web bugs from tracking a customer's specific activity. The web site logs will still record a page request from the customer's IP address, but unique information associated with a cookie cannot be recorded. 

However, web site server techniques that do not use cookies can be employed to help track a site's cookie-blocking users. For example, a web site can identify a request from a new visitor and send that visitor links that pass a unique ID as a GET parameter.
Browser add-ons and extensions can be used. For example, the Ghostery add-on analyzes Java Script to detect trackers, web bugs, pixels, and beacons

Gifs cannot contain executable code or javascript. The images themselves have nothing to do with it.

If you want to block ALL javascripts completely, you can download the NoScript plugin. This blocks everything and I mean EVERYTHING, and you can manually allow websites that you use: It's simple to use, nonintrusive, safe, and very effective.

You could also just block flash advertisements that can contain javascripts. Advertisements many times are the causes of viruses. First of all, installed a popup blocker or turn yours on - Firefox has one by default. Install AdBlock Plus, which blocks advertisements from showing up on all websites. You can manually allow or disallow new ones as well:…

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