As an illustration of the information you give away when you are browsing online, go to one of the following websites:
This is just a sampling of the large amount of information that can be collected from you. This information can be used in many ways.
For marketing purposes, information such as: browser type; what sites you have visited and your favourites links (which can yield information on your browsing habits); what type of sites you visit (which can indicate what hobbies you have, and where you work – including what field); what type of computer you are using etcetera; can all then be used to target ads to you.
However, someone can use this information for a more malicious intent. If someone can get information on what browser you are using, and what operating system, they can see what security vulnerabilities you are susceptible to and can ‘attack’ your machine using this information – this is merely one example (and there are countless other ways) the information you give away can be maliciously used.
Perhaps it is a good thing that the next release of Firefox will have a porn mode. Check out the current security features if you’re bored. Oh, and by the way, if you are still using Internet Explorer, in all likeliness, you’ve been attacked and just don’t realise it. Take a read of the post by Brian Krebs from January 4, 2007 titled Internet Explorer Unsafe for 284 Days in 2006.
Firefox users who can’t wait for 3.1 (it’s available in Beta at this time), or you need another surf of those porn sites, then perhaps get some privacy and security add-ons in the meantime. They might slow down the onslaught of Viagra, penis enlargement and breast implants spam arriving in your inbox.