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somebody looking over my shoulder

realolman

Member
I realize this may not be the absolute correct place to post such a question, but I also don't know where is the correct place, and I am sure there are  people here who know a lotta stuff, so here goes...
 
The best I can do in the area where I live is Verizon DSL... I have a windows 10 laptop and it came with edge, which is the default internet browser.  I also have installed Mozilla Firefox with the Duck Duck Go search engine. 
 
 I don't see any reason anyone else should know what I am doing on the internet... the duck duck go search engine claims to not track you, and I always use any browser in as private a mode as is possible.  I never use Edge unless it comes up by default... I always use Firefox. I never search for anything on Edge because I don't trust it.
 
 
Why and how is it, that I search for information on salt water swimming pools on firefox with duck duck go, and the next day I start getting advertisements on Microsoft edge about salt water swimming pools?
 
I never searched for anything on edge regarding salt water swimming pools and specifically this comes up on "My Feed" which comes up by default on Edge and is supposedly powered my Microsoft news.
 
 
This kind of thing happens pretty regularly and it bugs the heck outta me.  Sometimes I search for things that are somewhat obscure, and I don't think it is coincidence that it shows up on Microsoft edge.  I search for multi track digital recorders on firefox with duck duck go and next thing I know all kinds of ads start popping up on edge for multi track digital recorders.
 
Is it my machine, my ISP, firefox... or who?   I paid for my machine, and I know the concept of buying something that actually belongs to me seems outdated and naive ... but is my own machine spying on me?
 
 I really don't like it... I don't know who knows what or why they should be allowed to know anything... Do you search for info on some dread disease, and then be denied life insurance or a job??   Are the brown shirts going to come get me because I searched for some political information that somebody doesn't like??  The other day my wife did something legitimate through legitimate channels regarding social security, and before long we get a call from someone who was obviously a scammer about social security... really???
 
More to the point of this forum, with all the home devices communicating over the internet, how do you keep yourself protected?  I have antiviruses, spyware "finders", cleaners etc. ...they all show that nothing is there.,  
 
I can see where it would be very easy to download a purported antivirus or cleaner or the software for some thermostat that installed spyware and viruses  on your machine.
 
How can I stop this?
 
 
thank you.
 
 
..
 
 
 

JonW

Senior Member
I ususally do a couple of seed searches for "string bikinis", then the targeted ads don't bother me so much.   :D
 

pete_c

Guru
Here primary laptops / desktops utilize Ubuntu 18.04 these days (Firefox with AdBlockerPlus and Ghostery) and put much of the heavy work to the PFSense Firewall. 
 
A couple of PFSense plugins I use is DNS Resolver and PFBlocker (Maxmind). 

Another CT user here is using Bind now instead of DNS Resolver. Many home internet users today are also utilizing PiHole which is free and easy to install on an RPi (Raspberian).
 
For a while also utilized Opera which had a couple of scripts to allow web access to those sites which would not allow access if your adblocker was turned on.
 
Many sites today do not allow access if you have ad blocker enabled.
 
Also utilize Tor browser here which is an easy installation these days to any operating system (Windows, MAC or Linux) and you can also utilize VPN.
 
If you have a smartphone which you leave on 24/7 it really doesn't matter these days.  Here for a while now have shut off my phones when at home and just recently disabled the message answering pieces such that if someone calls and the phone is off then a message is provided that the phone is out of service.  (I am not tethered here to my smart phones).

Typically too I keep my tablets off when no using them.
 

wkearney99

Senior Member
Be clear, it's not the browser doing the dirty work, it's the websites you visit.  When you visit and log into sites you start the the advertising process.  Use that same login in another browser and it follows you. 

In addition to what Pete has suggested, I find use pi-hole for DNS helps block quite a lot, along with several browser add-ins like Ublock and Ghostery.
 

neillt

Active Member
It's even more in-depth than you think.  Modern browsers leak all sorts of innocuous things that when put together, can reliably determine who you are.  Number and resolution of screens for example.  So you get the source IP of the request, see you have received requests from that before, then pair it up with screen counts and sizes, now you already have a very narrow set of choices, possibly already just one.  If you have multiple hits, as Bill said it only takes one logged in account in that browser and then blammo, they already know who you are across all the web sites that use Google Analytics, Facebook linking, etc.
 

mikefamig

Senior Member
get a VPN service and learn to use it.Also add "adblocker plus" to your browsers. I have found it to work to clean up targeted ads.
 
Mike.
 

wkearney99

Senior Member
vpn won't matter, it's the end website you're connecting with that's selling you out.  vpn just tunnels you to somewhere else, which won't make much difference.
 
ublock origin beats adblocker plus, hands-down.
 

mikefamig

Senior Member
wkearney99 said:
vpn won't matter, it's the end website you're connecting with that's selling you out.  vpn just tunnels you to somewhere else, which won't make much difference.
 
ublock origin beats adblocker plus, hands-down.
 
My targeted ads are definitely less with the VPN. I'll give ublock a look.
 
Mike.
 

mikefamig

Senior Member
I found this on the topic of ad blockers.
  Effectiveness

When you visit a site, AdBlock Plus blocks most ads. However, sometimes it will let ads be seen. If you’re wondering why, it’s because certain companies pay for the privilege of having their ads stay visible. These are known as acceptable ads and they must meet specific criteria. However, there is a way to block these acceptable ads and we will show you how in the next section.

uBlock Origin simply blocks every ad that it can.
If you don’t want to worry about whitelist options and simply want a program that blocks all ads, then uBlock Origin cuts the nonsense and does what it’s supposed to do.
 
 
EDIT -Being able to whitelist a site is good if you have a news source or some other site that will not let you read with an adblocker in use.
 

mikefamig

Senior Member
wkearney99 said:
vpn won't matter, it's the end website you're connecting with that's selling you out.  vpn just tunnels you to somewhere else, which won't make much difference.
 
ublock origin beats adblocker plus, hands-down.
 
Bill
 
I think that it is every server hop that your packet touches that has a chance to sell you out and VPN may shield your identity there.
 
Mike.
 

wkearney99

Senior Member
You can whitelist in just about all blocking tools.  Ublock and pi-hole, included.  

I take the perspective that a website should work without ads.  If it doesn't then it sure as hell better be worth the hassle of allowing them through.  More often than not, they aren't.
 

wkearney99

Senior Member
You can whitelist in just about all blocking tools.  Ublock and pi-hole, included.  

I take the perspective that a website should work without ads.  If it doesn't then it sure as hell better be worth the hassle of allowing them through.  More often than not, they aren't.
 
mikefamig said:
My targeted ads are definitely less with the VPN.
 
I'm guessing that's because the DNS servers the VPN link is handing you are blocking advertising DNS lookups. 
 

mikefamig

Senior Member
wkearney99 said:
You can whitelist in just about all blocking tools.  Ublock and pi-hole, included.  

I take the perspective that a website should work without ads.  If it doesn't then it sure as hell better be worth the hassle of allowing them through.  More often than not, they aren't.
 
 
I'm guessing that's because the DNS servers the VPN link is handing you are blocking advertising DNS lookups. 
 
Good thought, that works for me. I really do see a difference.
 

pete_c

Guru
TOR works for me.  You can go anywhere on the Internet with it plus +++ the TOR network.
 
BTW here never log in to Firefox whatever I am using to run it on.
 
TOR.jpg
 
tor2.jpg
 
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