My question is not about people who are proficient in hacking. I am wondering about websites run by acquaintances or friends of friends, who can use website analytics services provided by the website hosts for business purposes. They may innocently enough decide one day that they want to look up how many visitors viewed their pages, the IP address that visited their site, the location, the service provider of the visitor, the entry and exit pages, the search engine query used to enter the website, etc. While they are viewing, their curiosity may be piqued, and they may attempt to identify a visitor based on the provided information. Then they may decide to stalk the visitor's movements, and may for example try to identify comments or user feedback left by the visitor. The visitor always wanted to remain anonymous, but risks their identity being revealed.

What precautions can be taken before the fact to protect from such an eventuality while retaining complete funcionality? I realize this may be a pretty broad question, because what is tracked by common site tracking services can vary, and the potential concerns of a visitor trying to be anonymous vary greatly too. But I would assume that the ability of a determined hacker far outpaces the reaches of a tech novice using a web analaytics. So maybe some measure input can be contributed if we were to consider granting a visitor the maximal protection from identification in these circumstances.

Of course using proxies, Tor, etc. would be great suggestions. But is that enough against web analytics tools? For example, would enabling scripts to run in Tor in order to view an ordinary video or youtube hosted on a regular site betray the IP address of the viewer, or is the vulnerability caused by enabling scripts in Tor beyond the capabilities of prevalent analytics services? Another example: As far as I know, Facebook doesn't currently allow for tracking. But hypothetically how would it be possible to retain anonymity from shared posts, photos and videos viewed if it some day would become possible or even retroactively viewable?

closed as too broad by Mark, schroeder, Eric G, Xander, Steve May 1 '15 at 22:07

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You don't really need to resort to Tor to avoid this kind of tracking, I would firstly just use a VPN to hide my IP (much quicker than Tor).

Beacon/analytics blocking comes down to selectively stopping the associated JavaScript. I would then just use my regular web browser with a beacon/analytics blocker such as Ghostery which has a huge database of analytic-script fingerprints. This app also does social media plugin blocking.

This solution is better for maintaining functionality because it doesn't block JavaScript all together like the noScript plugin. Of course if a new analytic script is created it might take a little time before it's included in the database.

As for your theoretical Facebook question; create an account not linked to your real identity.


There are some ways to prevent website tracking. Although you use Tor or any proxy, you may want not to be tracking by someone at all. I think the best way to prevent that is using browser plugins because they are easy to install/use and not need much effort.

  • First you can install BetterPrivacy (It is available only for Firefox bundles) which removes LSO stands for Local Shared Objects. They are information placed on your computer by Flash plug-in. BetterPrivacy allows to list and manage Flash-cookies, e.g. to remove those objects automatically on browser start, browser exit or by a configurable timer function while certain desired Flash cookies can be excluded from automatic deletion.
  • Second one is DoNotTrackMe plugin which is available for all major browsers. DoNotTrackMe automatically blocks these tracking companies - ad networks, social networks, and sneaky data collection companies - from tracking your browsing behind the scenes. DoNotTrackMe has blocked over 1 trillion attempts to track millions of users' browsing and actively blocks over 600 of these companies. Also, advantage of using DoNotTrackMe plugin is that it also has capabilities to produce very strong password for you to register websites and store them by encrypting. You can also mask your registered e-mails from trackers.
  • As mentioned on first answer you can also use Ghostery which prevents tracking, advertisements ext.

  • For emails there is a plugin named Mailvelope which uses PGP (stands for Pretty Good Privacy) to encrypt emails that prevents tracking. To use it, you should give your key (after generating) to people that you will send encrypted emails, of course to get emails from them they should give theirs to you, too. It is available for Firefox and Chrome.

Also, if you are using Linux Distro, you may avoid being tracked by spoofing MAC address of your network card:

sudo ifconfig eth0 hw ether 0A:A0:04:D4:AA:11

  • eth0 is network interface you want to spoof
  • last part is MAC address you want to have
  • To spoof MAC, you should not have Static IP address, if you do, you have to update your MAC-IP.

Don not forget that you have to change your MAC after each reboot/restart of the OS.

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