Companies can still see 'hidden' browser history – due to cookies and trackers


    But a study of 2,000 adults found a third (32 percent) don’t know how to delete their browsing history, a fifth choose not to keep it private, and 43 percent are unaware it can be used by hackers for financial scams.

    Things Brits most want to hide in their browser history include their online banking and dating site history – while 34 percent want to prevent their information being monetised by third parties.

    Jaya Baloo, chief information security officer at Avast, a NortonLifeLock company, which commissioned the study, said: “Unfortunately, our research demonstrates an obvious knowledge gap among consumers about the fact that their browsing activity is being viewed and monetized by others, as well as the potential security issues which cybercriminals are always trying to profit from.

    “As the window to the internet for 4.6 billion digital citizens around the world, the browser is a prime target for advertisers and cybercriminals, which means security and privacy is absolutely central to our daily online interactions.”

    The study also found 32 percent of adults wouldn’t want anyone to see their browsing history and 19 percent don’t want it seen by their partner or spouse.

    Only 39 percent know how to delete their search history on all their devices, with a further 29 percent managing it on some but not others.

    While 48 percent make deleting their history a weekly task.

    It also emerged 44 percent didn’t know their browsing history can be sold legally to third parties, allowing them to be approached by targeted advertising.

    In addition, 49 percent feel like they are being watched online.

    As a result, 30 percent of those polled, via OnePoll, feel unsafe surfing the internet.

    And three in 10 are annoyed that companies can track them online, with just 12 percent believing it’s positive that businesses are able to observe their online movements.

    This has led to 52 percent wishing they know more about protecting their online safety, with 53 percent unaware there is free software that deletes your browser history.

    With 46 percent saying this is something they’d be likely to install.

    Jaya Baloo added: “Many consumers only ever use the browsers pre-installed on their devices, without considering alternative options.

    “We built our secure browser to ease the burden of technical complexity so people can experience the web as they want and leave everything else to security and privacy experts.”


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