E-Business: 500pc Rise in Web Bug Use
The use of 'web bugs' - hidden online information collectors - has rocketed nearly 500 per cent in the past few years, according to new data from automated internet intelligence firm Cyveillance International.
The firm's latest study indicates that, on average, a web page is nearly five times more likely to contain a web bug today than was the case three years ago.
The study used Cyveillance's proprietary technology to compare a random sample of more than one million internet pages gathered during 1998 and 2001.
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.
Web bugs are hidden graphics embedded in web pages to collect information about visitors to the site.
Unnoticed, they can gather information, such as the user's IP address, the type of browser used to retrieve the bug and previously set cookie values. …