Web bug

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Web bug

Also called a "Web beacon," "pixel tag," "clear GIF" and "invisible GIF," it is a method for passing information from the user's computer to a third party website. Used in conjunction with cookies, Web bugs enable information to be gathered and tracked in the stateless environment of the Internet. The Web bug is typically a one-pixel, transparent GIF image, although it can be a visible image as well. As the HTML code for the Web bug points to a site to retrieve the image, it can pass along information at the same time.

Web bugs can be placed into an HTML page used for e-mail messages as most mail programs support the display of HTML pages. See e-mail tracker, cookie, state and anonymous proxy.


A Web Bug Scenario
There are myriad ways in which Web bugs can be used. This example uses a third-party tracking site to determine how much merchandise was purchased for a particular banner ad campaign. In scenarios such as these, the individual users may still remain anonymous, even though their buying habits are disclosed.
References in periodicals archive ?
95) examines the future of computer security with an eye to consider not only the factors which make a system secure, but how privacy design pitfalls, web bugs, and other issues can affect security choices and effectiveness.
Although web bugs are not specifically prohibited for official website use, the White House confirmed it will investigate whether use alongside cookies is in breach of official guidelines.
Internet Cleaning -- Includes spyware protection against adware, key loggers and Trojan horse programs;Protection against Web bugs, ad banners, and pop ups; manages cookies; includes a locking mechanism to prevent snooping; and prevents unauthorized access to applications.
Suite Features protect you from: -- Internet Cleaning -- Includes spyware protection against adware, key loggers and Trojan horse programs;Protection against Web bugs, ad banners, and pop ups; manages cookies; includes a locking mechanism to prevent snooping; and prevents unauthorized access to applications.
Spam beacons are a variant of Web bugs, which traditionally have been used by Web marketing companies to measure page views and track Web surfing behavior.
Pop-ups and pop-unders consume memory without your permission, and some sites actually plant Web bugs when they send information.
To determine how competitors are defining Internet terms, for example, users may select topics such as cookies, web bugs, etc.
biometrics, Web bugs, and spyware) and suggestions for minimizing the threat they pose to our privacy.
Privacy advocates have been raising the alarm over Web bugs, which are invisible GIFs that can collect information about Web site visitors without their knowledge (see "Cleaning Up Data Spills," "Tech Talk," May).
Those interested in squashing Web bugs selectively blocking unwanted cookies, and turning off banner ads can obtain free software for doing so at www.
WEB bugs are infesting people's web pages and they don't even know it, claims a new report.
The analysis of the 2001 data revealed that the sites of eight of the top 50 brands, or 16 per cent, actually had web bugs directly on their home pages - often just one click away from stated privacy policies.