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Thread: Definition of Web Bug, Private Headers?

  1. #1
    mariko75 Guest

    Default Definition of Web Bug, Private Headers?

    I checked Zone Alarm's Help, but was unable to find any entries that gave the definition of a Web Bug or a Private Header. What exactly am I blocking (or not blocking) if I check these two options? Thanks.

    Operating System:Windows Vista Home Premium
    Software Version:7.0
    Product Name:ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    9,056

    Default Re: Definition of Web Bug, Private Headers?

    Curious, I was unaware the ZA Vista version had re-introduced the Privacy. I has assumed it was still missing and only available in the present XP and lower Windows OSes. So I was surprised to see a Vista ZA user ask about webbugs and private headers.

    A webbug is a tiny javscript in a web page that is a tiny tracker. It is a 1x1 or 1x2 or 2x1 or 2x2 gif in size (in pixels) on a web page, so it is almost or completely invisible.
    Blocking javascripts in the browser will defeat webbugs.
    It just records all of the IPs that are visiting the web page. All visitors IP are recorded anyways, by the web server. But web bugs go further- if both the cookies are allowed and the javascripts, it will read the information off of the cookie files that are associated with that site and the for the sites associated with that cookie. So it is considered a spy. Even though the info from the cookie does not present any serious security threat. It is just snoopy or pries too much.

    They can be found in emails- this is why a user should never open strange emails. The strange email has a webbug implanted in it. Once the email is opened, the webbug is activated and it reports the email address and the IP back to the sender. Now the sender know that the email address and the IP is valid. The new address is included on a list to be sold to spammers for profit. So just delete any strange email and never open them and you will never get any more spam! Or at least reduce it's numbers.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_bug

    Private headers are commonly called "referer". Although that is technically and gramatically incorrect. All web server can see your IP. But private headers go further. They send the list of your past visits along with your requests to a new site that you are going to visit. The new site can actually see all of your past browsing experience. The site that you are then at will relay your past browsing experience to the next server you vist and so forth.
    Private headers can be broken into two categories. One is the domain and the other is the path. The domain is still within the same web server or main site (example would be msn.com and then junp to a section, so it is still the same domain, such as lifestyle or celebrity).
    The path can be from different domains (example would be youtube.com but then a video is dis[;ayed from a completely different server not directly associated with youtube itself. Some sites with games or have added content are notorious for this).


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Referer

    Want more officail detail?

    Look here:

    http://www.w3.org/Security/Faq/index.html#contents

    As a general rule, I browse with no cookies allowed, or java, or scripts or referer amd block as many of the counters, trackers & ads as humanly possible. But the preferred sites are specific allowed content, to make them useable.

    Guru Hoov has a brief intro to this>

    http://www.donhoover.net/privacy.html

    Oh there is some info in the ZA about this:

    Specifying which types of mobile code to block
    You can customize mobile code control by which types of active content to block and which to allow.

    To customize mobile code control

    Select Privacy|Main.
    In the Mobile Code Control area, click Custom.
    The Custom Privacy settings dialog appears.

    In the Mobile Code Control area, specify the types of mobile code to block.
    Block JavaScript Blocks JavaScript content, including that required for common uses such as Back and History links, rollover images, and opening and closing browser windows.
    Block scripts (vbscript, etc.) Blocks scripts that execute automatically, including those required for displaying banners, pop-up ads, and dynamic menus.
    Block embedded objects (java, ActiveX) Blocks objects embedded in Web pages, including sound and image files.
    Block mime-type integrated objects Block mime-type integrated objects Blocks objects whose MIME-type indicates that they are applications.
    Note: This option also blocks legitimate executable files sent through the browser, including downloads that you may want to allow. When this occurs, you'll see the error "This object has been blocked" in the browser. For downloads initiated by you, it is safe to disable the Block mime-type integrated objects feature.

    Oldsod.

    Message Edited by Oldsod on 08-10-2007 10:37 PM
    Best regards.
    oldsod

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    localhost
    Posts
    17,291

    Default Re: Definition of Web Bug, Private Headers?

    In fact, ZA VISTA version does not have any privacy feature...I guess OP posted the wrong OS.Cheers,Fax

    Click here for ZA Support
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  4. #4
    mariko75 Guest

    Default Re: Definition of Web Bug, Private Headers?

    My error: my Dell desktop is running XP Home (and it is the ZA on this system that I was referring to).
    My laptop runs Vista.

    Thank you!

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