Over 90% of online trackers are from Google, Facebook, and Microsoft

William S. | November 29, 2022

Online data trackers on websites are used to follow your browsing habits, IP address, and personal information. According to the data presented by the Atlas VPN team, 93.7% of online trackers are from Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. Beyond trackers, other web privacy threats, such as session replay and fingerprinting, are also present.

The data is based on the second edition of Lokker’s biannual Online Data Privacy Report released in October 2022. The company analyzed more than 170,000 websites to better understand the scope and scale of web privacy risks that exist.

Notably, Google’s trackers make up 49.9% of all trackers found on the web. They follow your activity on their apps and services and have an extensive set of data based on how you interact and what purchases you make. Then Google suggests ads by using that information about your interests.

YouTube and ad network Doubleclick, which belong to Google, also have a significant share of trackers online. YouTube has a 13.8% share, while Doubleclick trackers make up 8.3%. YouTube uses trackers to serve you personalized ads before videos. On the other hand, online publishers use Doubleclick to track and control ad delivery on their websites.

Out of all trackers, Facebook’s trackers make up 15.7% of the share. Facebook has suffered multiple data breaches in the past and has been involved in privacy scandals. In such cases, information collected about you could get into the wrong hands and be used to create personalized phishing attacks.

Microsoft’s trackers are the least common in this list, with 6% of the share. Most of their cookies are from the LinkedIn domain. Besides the social network, many of Microsoft’s trackers can be found in the Bing search engine, similar to Google’s model.

Finally, Hotjar has a 6.3% share of trackers online. Their tracker helps websites collect your IP address, device type, operating system browser type, window size, and content.

Other web privacy threats

Beyond trackers, other web privacy threats exist that can corrupt your safety online. All of the following methods are used by companies to collect more information about you and cybercriminals to steal your data.

Session replay script was found in 35% of the scanned websites. This type of threat captures visitors’ journey on the website. During the recording of the user’s session, the script may also capture personal identifiable information (PII). Session replays are used to study customer behavior online.

Fingerprinting scripts were present in 30.9% of websites. A digital fingerprint is created when a company makes a unique user profile based on their computer hardware, software, add-ons, and even preferences. The more unique settings mean the person will be easier to recognize.

About one out of four (24.9%) websites had a newly registered domain name. Foreign actors from countries like Russia, Belarus, China, and Iran originated 9% of malicious scripts. Malware and bad SSL were each present in just 0.1% of websites.

Internet users can take more care of their privacy simply by just taking a few extra steps. People can change their browser settings, decline cookies on websites, and use tools that help block trackers to minimize the information collected about them.

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