It’s hard for a web user to find suspicious activities that occur when he/she visits a website using both web and mobile browsers. Studies have shown that government agencies like the NSA and other firms are using many private tools that can breach a user’s private information.

According toa recent blog on ‘The Washington Post’, entitled NSA uses Google cookies to pinpoint targets for hacking”, the NSA uses Google cookies and a user’s physical location to exploit malware/threat remotely to target him for surveillance and hacking purpose.

If a website is HTTPS-enabled (secured with an SSL Certificate), the communication will be secure between and the client (browser) and the server, so no other person/robot can access that information.

A web user must have a highly secured environment (i.e. HTTPS://) to visit a web-page/website using a browser, so no one can access his or her data/information.

What is TrackerSSL?

TrackerSSL is a modern chrome extension that aims to monitor and test HTTPS connections to offer a secure environment to web users. TrackerSSL has been developed by a Non-Profit digital privacy organization Open Effect and a research team of Citizen Lab – University of Toronto.

Functions of the TrackerSSL Extension:

  • When a user visits a web-page/website, TrackerSSL monitors the third party connections (ad tracker) loaded for that page, and it also checks whether those third party connections support HTTPS or not.
  • TrackerSSL gives a percentage score to that page based on the third party connections that support HTTPS.
  • It also displays the list of third party Insecure Identifiers of that page. Identifiers that support HTTPS connection will be displayed with a lock icon and identifies that not supporting HTTPS connection will be displayed with an Ø symbol.
  • To share the percentage score of that particular webpage/website, there is a Twitter sharing button. Using this option, a user can share the reputation of that page with his/her followers. It also helps that website owner take necessary steps to increase the score of their TrackerSSL Extension.

TrackerSSL Chrome Extension Result

Figure: TrackerSSL Chrome Extension Result

The TrackerSSL chrome extension uses the EFF’s (Electronic Frontier Foundation) HTTPS everywhere engine to check whether the third party connections support SSL or not.

Andrew Hilts (Executive Director of Open Effect) &the research team of Citizen Lab says, “As demand for secure technology grows, most websites will not be able to protect their readers unless they stop using insecure ad trackers.”

As per the TrackerSSL results, if the website is not secured with an SSL Certificate and only a few third party connections (ad tracker) support HTTPS, the score will be lower.

If a website is secured with an SSL Certificate and if all third party connections (ad tracker) are supporting HTTPS, the TrackerSSL score will be higher.

TrackerSSL helps a web user to understand his/her security by showing:

  • Low % score website that indicates a trust level is low and the risk of a hack or other potential attacks is high.
  • High % score website indicates the trust level is high and the risk of a hack/date breach is lower/none.

The security of a user’s data and sensitive information is as relevant and important today as ever. Web tools such as Tracker SSL are a wake-up call for web users to improve their security standards.



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