Anonymity on the web for most people is limited to clearing the history of web pages viewed from the web browser. It turns out, however, that there is still a way for others to see your browsing history.
The entire history of your browsing, even pages you visit in incognito mode, can be recovered by third parties. Two security experts in the network Svea Eckert and Andreas Dewes managed to gather data on the network from 3 million Germans, and they used only their own knowledge.
Eckert and Dewes also managed to get into the private history of public figures such as judges and politicians. About their way of using data “Clickstream” they spoke at the Def Con industry event in Las Vegas.
“Clickstream” is a virtual trace that leaves every user on the Internet. It records all activity on the web, including every page, subpage you visit and the time it spent on it, as well as accurate information about what the user clicked on. These data should be anonymous, which would exclude the possibility of their being deciphered by an unauthorized person.
Eckert and Dewes said they managed to bypass security and get to the vast amounts of sensitive data millions of Internet users have. According to experts, this was achieved through 10 popular browser extensions. The two “hackers” identified users by means of links in the Clickstream data that were posted by specific people on Twitter or other social media.
This allowed them to accurately identify people whose data is stored in Clickstream. German politicians whose interest in pornography and other habits have revealed their interest in the subject matter. This knowledge would be ideal for later blackmailing them.
Asked about the government’s plans to collect and secure these data, Eckert and Dewes said that firstly, it is important to consider how long the data will be stored.
“If someone is strong on the subject of data protection, then they should not be allowed at all, but for security reasons, such data may be kept for some time,” she said in an interview with BBC Eckert.