Google tracks you even if you disable tracking on your mobile

Android usually packages these applications in the device’s read-only memory, making them impossible to delete or modify.

An investigation ensures that Google tracks users, even when they disable tracking options on their mobile phones. Researchers from Trinity College in the Irish city of Dublin who carried out the study analyzed how various layers of Android customization exchange data, including those from manufacturers such as Samsung, Xiaomi and Huawei.

According to the researchers, even if the user disables the tracking options, these devices send data to the developers of the operating system and to third parties. This data exchange begins to occur with minimal configuration and when you turn on the phone after taking it out of the box and connecting to the Internet, just when it is idle.

According to the investigation, the cause is the Applications that arrive pre-installed in the “smart” mobile phone by the manufacturer, such as phone, camera or messages, among others.

Android usually packages these applications in the read-only memory (ROM) of the device, so they are impossible to delete or modify without applying radical actions such as starting the device from the root.

Researchers indicate that applications such as Samsung Pass share data with Google Analytics about when and for how long the application is used. By applying messages, Xiaomi y Huawei they send timestamps of each user interaction with Google Analytics, as well as logs each time a text message is sent.

According to the researchers, none of this data allows your phone to be identified, but all of them make up a unique fingerprint with which it is possible to track your device.

Traces left by fingerprints

What are the Fingerprints browser? It can be creepy, because most of the “browsers” that you use on your cell phone or your computer to browse the web track your behavior online.

This allows others to know who you are while you browse the Internet, all without the need to log into your account or use “cookies”, tracking computer files. Like a human fingerprint, your browser has a unique set of features that can trace you back to everything you do on the Internet.

When you browse the Internet, many web portals capture some of this information, such as the screen size and the type of browser, to give you the best experience. However, browser fingerprints can also be used for tracking and identification.

Websites can record all kinds of information about you through this fingerprint and then connect it to other similar fingerprints to get an accurate picture of your browsing behaviors and activities on the website. A browser fingerprint is an invaluable piece of information for marketers who want to sell you products or services.

Privacy is of increasing concern to Internet users.

How to avoid browser fingerprints

If you are concerned about your personal information and do not want to share it over the Internet through browser fingerprints, you may want to stop it. Unfortunately, there is only one method If you want to stop browser fingerprinting altogether: don’t use the internet at all.

Yes, it is almost impossible to prevent browsers from collecting your data because browsers use HTTP headers to collect your fingerprint. But there are certain security practices that you can use to mitigate your browser’s fingerprint or make it non-original.

The following practices will make your identity harder to track and they will prevent advertisers from obtaining extremely personal information about your web browsing history.

Disable Flash

If you are a user of ChromeSo you don’t have to worry about Flash because Chrome stopped using it at the end of 2020. Also, many reputable sites have also stopped using Flash, which is a no-brainer because it’s becoming a relic of the past.

Most experts believe that the Flash has no other important purpose than the collection of fingerprint data. You can disable or uninstall it right away because you don’t need it if you’re not explicitly using it for a specific purpose. Otherwise it will keep crawling your data for a short time because newer versions of all major browsers have already decided to stop supporting it.

Check out extensions and plugins

Browser extensions and plugins can be great resources for browsing. They can provide deeper integrations to the services you use every day. But these can also make it much easier for others to track you.

But think about it: the more extensions and add-ons your browser has, more exclusive will be the fingerprint of your browser. That setup is much more difficult for someone else to replicate. This is why you should uninstall add-ons that you don’t use immediately and try to use standalone desktop applications as alternatives to the ones you use.

You must bear in mind that disabling plugins is of no use. After all, it can still be used as your fingerprint because it remains in your browser. The safest route is to use JavaScript disable extensions. Disable the use of JavaScript, unless you explicitly allow it. This will protect you from unwanted tracking.

Keep all your software up to date

To protect yourself from cybercriminals and hacking attacks, try to keep all your software up to date. It means that you have to restart your browser and sometimes the computer as well.

It can be a bit cumbersome, but it’s worth it if you want to reduce your browser’s fingerprints. The most important software that you should update all the time is your antivirus. Otherwise, such software will not be able to detect the latest cyber attacks, “exploits” and “malware”.

Use incognito or private mode

Using an incognito mode of your browser is a good idea to reduce fingerprints. While not perfect, it does reduce the amount of information shared with others.

To see how it is working, you can visit any browser fingerprint checker to see the results while in private or incognito mode which will probably be unique.

In that case, we recommend that you use Tor to enjoy the most private browsing experience. If you’ve heard of Tor, you may also have heard that it is for dark web browsing. Tor is most commonly used for that purpose, but it’s also a great way to avoid all possible tracing.

use Tor

Tor is an extremely secure and private browser that includes anti-fingerprint features, such as cloaking your operating system and blocking revealing information such as your time zone and language preferences. Without these details, it is much more difficult for your browser to be fingerprinted.

However, a reminder: the most anonymous way to use any Internet browser is avoid installing extensions and plugins. That is simply the easiest way to find out who you are, as very few people have the same combination of facilities. Stick with the default version to better anonymize your browser.

Use a VPN

A virtual private network increases your online security and privacy. Mask your address and physical location by routing your Internet traffic through a third-party server. That way, it will appear that you are browsing from somewhere else.

VPNs (acronym in English for virtual private network) can protect you from hackers, surveillance, ISPs (Internet Service Providers), and malicious websites. Also, your data transmission is often encrypted so that no one can intercept it.

Note that VPNs do not prevent websites from using JavaScript and HTTP headers to collect browser fingerprints. Remove your IP address from the headers and the equation, but your fingerprint may still be unique.

But you can always use the combination of all tips mentioned above along with the VPN to prevent websites from collecting your fingerprint data.

Tor allows masking web browsing.

Tor allows masking web browsing.

Cleaning your fingerprint beyond the browser

In addition to your activity in the browser, your fingerprint is made up of each comment posted on the social networks, every news article shared, and every successful online purchase.

This data trail reveals a detailed picture of who you are and what you like. All this data is valuable and monetized by free services and applications such as Facebook, Google y Twitter. When a person browses the web or uses applications, they are tracked on every page they visit. Luis Corrons, security evangelist for the computer company Avast, shared the following steps to minimize and clean your fingerprint beyond the browser:

Look up your name

Put yourself in the shoes of those who want to know more about you. Whether they are recruiters, criminals or vengeful ex-partners, it is important that you know what you are going to find just by looking for yourself on the web. Use multiple search engines as they can return different results.

Clean up your public data

Real estate websites and sites like Whitepages.com They may have more information about you than what you want to be public. This is personal information like your phone number, your age, and even your address. Get in touch with those websites and ask them to remove that information.

Check your accounts

While searching for your name, you may come across accounts of old social networks, posts with old-fashioned insensitive jokes, or blog posts you’ve written that revealed too much about your personal life. Culture changes and you can evolve with it. Review everything you have posted and evaluate it with fresh eyes.

Archive and delete

After assessing the risks to privacy and negative content of your posts, it is time to edit and delete them. Close all accounts that do not benefit your image online (both now and in the future). Remember that some content can never be completely removed.

Even if you think it’s private, entities like the police and hackers can expose things that you don’t want public. It’s best to never post negative posts in the first place.

Adjust privacy settings

Check your account settings in your browser and mobile apps. Minimize the exposure of your personal data by limiting what people can see. This includes your photos, posts, location, and personal information, such as your address or date of birth.

Clear your browser history

Even if you think that all the websites you have visited were “safe” for you. reputation, it is a good idea to clear your browsing history on a regular basis. Increased privacy on the Internet prevents history snooping and helps your browser run faster.

Clean your computer

The Temporary files, duplicates, those you thought you deleted, and low-resolution photos can slow down your computer and also create a security risk.

Clean your phone

The more you use your phone, the more junk it accumulates. Old text messages, cookies, images, and browser history data take up a lot of storage space. If the data does not exist, it cannot be used against you. Plus, your phone performs better. Clean the inside of your cell phone every few weeks.

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