What is Lurking Behind Your Network

Your network closet could potentially host some scary things in it. You may also discover that these components serve to generate huge network traffic without you knowing or understanding why and that is what we are going to discuss in this article today.

Have you had the opportunity to visit a shopping website and surf through? You find that after viewing an item and you proceed to another page, you find the same item on display. Essentially, this isn’t a coincidence, deep down we know that some tracking is being done, being precise, our surfing history is being tracked. However, we are oblivious to this as it can take many forms, for instance; cookies, and pixel tracking, and others not listed.

Web Analytics and Web Tracking 

In addition to tracking what we are surfing the web, more companies are delving into web analytics. These companies analyze your website activities and convert this data into processed information that they sell to other interested parties. They can be product advertisers, promoters or even marketing websites. It is of note that most of this analysis is done through website tracking as mentioned. However, a modern form has been introduced and has been in place for years. In this new method, a certain code is attached to their consumer website, and as soon as you visit their page, this code activates a conversation with the web server, notifying whoever is analyzing the website.

In more technical terms, this code attached is a Java code, and it loads automatically with the page and runs in the background. This is the story behind a business website’s claim that they “don’t slow down your browsing” since, in respect, the page has already loaded. This is the technique behind web analytics and tracking.

Dozens of firms are going into web analytics, and it’s a gold mine, considering the number of people who gain access to these sites. That information generated could determine the future of online businesses and the like.

Privacy Implications

I would like you to think about this for a second. As you visit a website, you have no intention of striking a virtual conversation with the host site, and yet, it’s happening, without your consent and more so without you knowing about it. Moreover, you’ve never thought of requesting a transcript of this data stream to be sent to you for review. About a quarter of all internet browsing traffic, is likely web analytics contents and this is illegal clogging of networks, more so if it’s a private company network.

If this is going on at your company, you need to take specific measures to stop this, and the best place to start is the client level. You need to have a firewall that can strip these codes from pages before or as soon as the client opens the page. This is the only effective solution in dealing with these bots, at the client level. Also, you have some safe options. Block the incoming traffic by redirecting it to a host file.

There are also browser extensions available to do this for you automatically.

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