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Old 18th April 2007, 10:55 AM   #1
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Exclamation Keep safe from Google

Now that Google has bought DoubleClick, let's review a few scary facts. Consider the following quote:
Quote:
Google ad sense operates on a different level...using cookies is just part of the game. Via IP pingbacks, toolbar tracking, and account identification, users may unkowningly be giving out alot more data than they realize.

Say for instance that you use Gmail. or any Google service that requires login. Google can track you via that login to each site you visit that has a google ad (70% of the net from what I understand). See, doubleclick never had this part of the equation...they never had account info. Google can tie your IPs, usernames, email content, and web browsing activity...and you can't do jack about it (short of blocking the google scripts themselves). Even without login account info, Google has the ability to track your individual machine via IP pingbacks. If you nav to page one, the google ad gets your exposed ip, then the next page you visit that has a google ad...yep..that ip is used to track that navigation. No cookie needed. Of course, if your behind a firewall, only the firewall ip would get exposed. But still...do you really want to give anyone that much information about you?
I recommend putting the following in your hosts file, C:\Windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts

# [Google Inc]
127.0.0.1 adwords.google.com
127.0.0.1 pagead.googlesyndication.com
127.0.0.1 pagead2.googlesyndication.com
127.0.0.1 adservices.google.com
127.0.0.1 imageads.googleadservices.com
127.0.0.1 imageads1.googleadservices.com
127.0.0.1 www.googleadservices.com
127.0.0.1 apps5.oingo.com
127.0.0.1 www.google-analytics.com
127.0.0.1 ssl.google-analytics.com
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Old 18th April 2007, 01:51 PM   #2
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Interesting!!
Can you explain what the hosts file information does?
Many thanks,
Martin.
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Old 18th April 2007, 02:05 PM   #3
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Copy and paste below. But first, it's not sure this deal will go through. It depends on what whoever in the US gov't is in charge of it decides. But much speaks for it going through. There has been a laxing of antitrust (anti competition) laws in America since Reagan.

Kind of funny to see Microsoft bitch and moan about this. But google has turned into a monster, perhaps more dangerous than Microsoft can ever become.

---------------------

This article was inspired by a thread posted over at Digital Point and I found it interesting enough to spread the wisdom.

If you suddenly find a website completely inaccessible for unknown reasons, or you open a website and find that all or certain elements or advertisements are gone, it can be because some other piece of software on your computer has modified the C:Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts file without your permission. I will first explain what the “hosts” file is for those who don’t know, if you already know then you can skip the next five or six paragraphs.

The “hosts” file is used by your operating system to associate host names with IP (Internet Protocol) addresses. For a www (World Wide Web) address to work it must first be translated into the IP address.

Take www.google.com for instance, a host name many of us use several times every day. Its IP address is 216.239.37.99. Either address will work but the www address must first be translated into the IP address. If you use the IP address directly it will go straight to the location without looking it up. The www addresses exist to make it easier for us humans, without them we would have to type in numeric IP addresses when browsing the web.

The first step for your computer when matching an IP address with a host name is to check the local “hosts” file. If the IP address is found in your local “hosts” file your computer will stop looking and go to the address. Usually that is not the case, the hosts file is more or less empty for most of us, only containing some some instructions on how to modify it.

When no information is found in your local hosts file your computer will ask the DNS (Domain Name Server) at your Internet service provider for the information. So all in all most of us never even give this a second thought, until it stops working.

Since your computer stops looking as soon as it finds a match the local “hosts” file can be used as a tool for blocking unwanted websites or marginally speed up your browsing by putting the host names and IP addresses of your favorite sites into the file, so that your computer never has to query a DNS.

If you want to block a host you can do that by associating the www address with the IP number 127.0.0.1. That IP address is known as “localhost” and computers use it to refer to themselves. By associating a host name with 127.0.0.1 you tell your computer that the address is itself and the computer will not go anywhere because it thinks that it has already displayed the address.

The “hosts” file can be very useful, as long as you are the one making the changes or are fully aware of any changes being made. Complications arise if something else modifies the file without your knowledge or permission. Changes to the file can be made by various ad blocking software but also popular file sharing software such as Kazaa Lite. The person who inspired this article had suddenly found that AdSense had been blocked. Something, most likely Kazaa, had added the following to his hosts file:

# [Google Inc][Restricted Zone site]
127.0.0.1 adwords.google.com
127.0.0.1 pagead.googlesyndication.com
127.0.0.1 pagead2.googlesyndication.com
127.0.0.1 adservices.google.com
127.0.0.1 www.googleadservices.com

What can we do to protect ourselves? More technical people can put a “read only” on the “hosts” file so that it cannot be modified automatically by just any program, but 99.999% of all Internet users will never do this. The average user won’t notice if for example AdSense or other types of advertisements suddenly are blocked, and that could lead to publishers losing potential revenue.
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Old 18th April 2007, 02:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sonusthree
Can you explain what the hosts file information does?
The hosts file overrides domain to IP routings. In the example I gave, when the computer tries to reach any of these Google ads/adsense domains, the requests are sent right back. That essentially blocks them. This won't affect your usage of Google, Gmail, or any other Google services, just the ads, which don't load (and given their preponderance around the web, that can actually speed up your browsing a bit as a bonus).

There are places online that provide large hosts files that block continually updated lists of malicious websites and so on, so then you don't have to worry about keeping up. Spybot Search&Destroy (the spyware removal program) has its own hosts which can be turned on in the options. I don't think most of these include Google ads/adsense, however.

One caveat is if you run a server: since 127.0.0.1 loops back to the system, that would be a problem when you run a server, so should be instead 0.0.0.0 for entries to be blocked instead.

Quote:
Originally posted by phn
# [Google Inc][Restricted Zone site]
127.0.0.1 adwords.google.com
127.0.0.1 pagead.googlesyndication.com
127.0.0.1 pagead2.googlesyndication.com
127.0.0.1 adservices.google.com
127.0.0.1 www.googleadservices.com
My list already includes these entries, and more.
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Old 18th April 2007, 02:10 PM   #5
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Thanks guys. Very helpful. Much obliged.
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Old 18th April 2007, 03:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Crowbar
Definitely reason to be concerned. Google now even have a word processor and spreadsheet Web applications, and with all the myriad other services like Google Desktop they provide, and ads on most of the Web, they have access to enormous information for each user. Not to speculate too much, but I'm guessing that was the plan from the beginning of the company. The potential for abuse is enormous.

OTOH, it is a way to get loose from the Micro$oft Office stranglehold. Until M$ also will migrate the office apps to web-based services. I am pretty sure anyway that M$ knows at least as much about you as Google does.

Jan Didden
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Old 18th April 2007, 03:48 PM   #7
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Another way to get away from microsloth is to use OpenOffice for your needs as well as moving to Linux...which has become much easier recently.

rt
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Old 18th April 2007, 06:54 PM   #8
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About the American antitrust laws, I should have written that the antitrust laws have become increasingly more lenient beginning with the Reagan administration.

I'm pretty much as anti Microsoft as the next guy. I'm equally anti region codes, which I'm pretty sure would have been illegal if it hadn't served powerful interests.

Linux is irrelevant. It's a community of navel-gazers. Unless they pull their heads out of their collective you know what and take their first step out of the 1970s, they are going to remain irrelevant to everybody but computer nerds and script kids. Quite a few of them should be on this forum.

As much wrong Microsoft stands for, it does a lot of things right. It's today one of the most progressive IT companies on the planet. Interaction design and user-centered/friendly design are where the future is. Technology is not a problem. Programming is not a problem. The programmers know their stuff. They deliver. Programmers are like engineers. They like tight, well-defined specifications. They will write a good software as easily as a poor one. The problem is that everybody asks the programmers to write poor software. Microsoft is well aware of that and is spending millions trying to change it.
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Old 18th April 2007, 07:09 PM   #9
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For the home user Linux works fine and in my experience much better than anything microsloth puts out. I cannot comment on the commercial IT side as I have no recent experience however it seems like many sites are now running it. Solaris development will also be interesting to watch..So emphatically no it is not irrelevant..

And as I stated...Linux is quite easy to get running on for a somewhat capable home user...and it's much more cost effective...again..not irrelevant for most of us.

My other point is that my previous comments were quite obviously in respose to statements made about becoming free from microsloth and taken in that correct context...which they were clearly originally intended....(I was obviously commenting on the previous post)....Linux is not irrelevant but is a very viable path to being microsloth free for the home user.

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Old 18th April 2007, 09:50 PM   #10
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FWIW, if you check HOSTS in Wikipedia, it will link you to many frequently updated hosts file that have even a few more Google entries than listed above. I've found it very effective at cutting down on unwanted cookies and such. Here's a good place to start: http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/
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