In news that shouldn't be surprising after TechRadar Pro published similar statistics last year, it was found that Google's web crawlers account for half of all crawlers found online.
Analyzing data from security visualization company Lokker's latest semi-annual online data privacy report (opens in a new tab), VPN service Atlas VPN revealed that of all the trackers found on the web, the 49,9% belongs only to Google.
YouTube and Doubleclick, two Google companies, own 13,8% and 8,3% of online crawlers, respectively. Facebook trackers make up 15,7% of online trackers, Microsoft makes the list at 6%, while Hotjar, a behavioral analytics tool, has 6,3%.
Sensitive data storage
Websites are full of trackers – little website elements that track people through their digital activities. These trackers are then used by various tech companies to create pseudonymous user profiles and sell them to advertisers.
These profiles are why some ads seem to follow you across the vast plains of the internet, and others seem oddly relevant to your interests, even if you're not connected to a service owned by the tech giants.
Overall, 93,7% of all online trackers come from Google, Facebook, or Microsoft.
These trackers are used to track people's browsing habits and store IP addresses and other personal information. They help businesses understand how consumers interact with websites and make purchases.
However, there are other privacy threats that can corrupt people's online security that big tech companies are exploiting. Session replay scripts, for example, were found on 35% of the websites scanned.
These scripts record sessions (user interactions with a website) to better understand how they behave when accessing a certain page (how long they stay, where they click, how far they scroll, etc.).
Since these scripts can also capture personally identifiable information that could make users more vulnerable to identity theft, users should consider measures to block them, such as a secure browser.