Maybe you don’t mind the ads for that bicycle rack following you around in cyberspace after you visited a site for all things bike, but browser trackers (“cookies”) also create a profile of you that gets sold to other advertisers and third parties.
Are you doomed to be stalked forever by bike ads? This is caused by third-party cookies. You can use third party software such as CCleaner, which can identify third-party cookies and clean out the cookies in your hard drive. It’s the third-party cookies that are the enemy. The first-party cookies come from the site you visit so that your subsequent visits to that site are easier.
After you rid the third-party cookies, you’ll have to alter your browser settings.
- In the upper right corner click the little lined box.
- Select Settings, click Show advanced settings.
- At Privacy click Content Settings.
- Under Cookies check “Block third-party cookies and site data.” Hit Done.
- In the top right corner, click on the gear.
- Select Internet Options.
- At the Privacy tab click Advanced.
- Check “Override automatic cookie handling.”
- Set the Third-party Cookies to Block. Hit Okay.
- Click the lined icon in the upper right corner.
- Click Options or Preferences for PC or Mac, respectively.
- At Privacy, under History, change “Firefox will” to “Use custom settings for history.”
- Change “Accept third-party cookies” to Never.
- Safari automatically has third-party cookies turned off, but to be sure:
- Go to Privacy and select the option that blocks third-party cookies.
Additional Ways to Stop Cookies from Tracking You
Here are things you can do, courtesy of an article on the Electronic Frontier Foundation site. These steps should take you about 10 minutes to complete.
You need not worry that these tactics will negatively impact the ease at which you navigate the vast majority of websites. For websites that get testy about these changes, you can temporarily use a private browsing mode that has disabled settings.
- Install AdBlock Plus. After installation, change filter preference so you can add EasyPrivacy. You’ll need to visit AdBlock Plus’s website.
- Change Cookie Settings. Go into Chrome’s settings under Settings, then Show Advanced Settings. Under Privacy click on Content Settings. Hit “Keep local data only until I quit my browser / for current session.” Check “Block third-party cookies and site data.” This will force cookies to expire after you exit the browser and prevent third-party cookies from activating.
- Install the extension “HTTPS Everywhere.” This will prevent websites from snooping in on you and will help shield you from third parties.
Turn off referers. Install an extension called Referer Control. Scroll down, locate “default referer for all other sites” and hit Block.
Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures.