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 email messages as most mail programs support the display of HTML pages. See email 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.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The use of web bugs is contrary to this assumption.
Ghostery tries to keep you up to date by detecting all the "invisible" parts of a web page (such as web bugs) so you can see who's doing what, then opt out of tracking by letting Ghostery's GhostRank sit in-between you and them.
The Web Analytics Association and the Council of the Association for Computing Machinery advocated in favor of the proposal in principle, but they suggested that the OMB look beyond the focus on persistent cookies and more broadly at developing best practices for the use of all technologies for website tracking, including deep-packet inspection and web bugs.
Lorraine Faith Cranor & Simson Garfinkel's SECURITY AND USABILITY: DESIGNING SECURE SYSTEMS THAT PEOPLE CAN USE (0596008279, $44.95) 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.
Even more insidious threats to the individual's privacy exist in the form of web bugs, spyware, and stealth monitoring programs.
In addition, WebTrends, an Internet company which oversees the White House website, has reportedly used web bugs, which are often used in combination with cookies to identify and track the movement of repeat site visitors.
-- 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.
Hyper-Text Markup Language (HTML) e-mail looks nice, but it can deliver such things as "Web bugs" (as in "bugging" your phone line), which connect with a remote Web server, allowing it to deposit a tracking cookie on your computer just as if you had surfed to the site on your own.
To ensure an address is valid and ripe for future spamming, spammers embed "Web bugs" or "spare beacons"--pieces of HTML code--into their spam messages.
In addition to an ever-increasing torrent of spam clogging e-mail inboxes, MX Logic has discovered nearly 50 percent of UCE are bugged with spam beacons also known as Web bugs. These beacons, snippets of HTML code, inform spammers that an e-mail address is valid when an end-user opens a piece of UCE or even when the bugged e-mail is viewed in the preview pane.
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., and a list of all policies with key terms will be generated.