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Towards Understanding First-Party Cookie Tracking in the Field

  • Third-party tracking is a common and broadly used technique on the Web. Different defense mechanisms have emerged to counter these practices (e.g. browser vendors that ban all third-party cookies). However, these countermeasures only target third-party trackers and ignore the first party because the narrative is that such monitoring is mostly used to improve the utilized service (e.g. analytical services). In this paper, we present a large-scale measurement study that analyzes tracking performed by the first party but utilized by a third party to circumvent standard tracking preventing techniques. We visit the top 15,000 websites to analyze first-party cookies used to track users and a technique called “DNS CNAME cloaking”, which can be used by a third party to place first-party cookies. Using this data, we show that 76% of sites effectively utilize such tracking techniques. In a long-running analysis, we show that the usage of such cookies increased by more than 50% over 2021.

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Author:Nurullah Demir, Daniel Theis, Tobias Urban, Norbert Pohlmann
Parent Title (English):Sicherheit 2022
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2022
Year of first Publication:2022
Publishing Institution:Westfälische Hochschule Gelsenkirchen Bocholt Recklinghausen
Release Date:2024/02/22
First Page:19
Last Page:34
Licence (German):License LogoEs gilt das Urheberrechtsgesetz

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