I have heard of the many complaints and warnings from my fellow bloggers in the past to avoid installing Sitemeter to track statistics of my websites.
Because I did not pay attention, I just ignored the warnings. But recently, I got so curios why every time my sites load on a web browser, there’ s always a call to this particular site, dg.specificclick.net. Before I thought it was the company who provided ad serving services to many reputable companies, Doubleclick, which was acquired by Google in March 2008.
But when I pointed my browser to check out what it is, dg.specificclick.net, even specificclick.net do not exist! So a search about this site in Google, I found loads of valuable information:
This one from the site, www.paretologic.com:
Specificclick cookies store information about a PC user’s interaction with a specific website. Standard Cookies are not inherently dangerous, but they can be misused and exploited and may allow a distinct and apparently unrelated website to access the same information. If more than one website can access a cookie that has been placed on the user’s PC, that cookie poses a security and privacy risk. Tracking cookies can allow vendors to analyze browsing behaviour for marketing purposes.
Its author is SpecificClick Network.
No website available.
Threat Level: Low Risk
specificclick cookie Characteristics
- Displays ads
- Records personal data / keystrokes
- Hijacks internet browser
- Allows remote influence
- Downloads unsolicited files
- Disables programs / system
- Makes unauthorized phone calls
- Exploits a security flaw
- Floods internet connection
- Distributes threats
- Tracks browsing activity with installed applications
- Tracks browsing activity with cookies
- Installs without user consent
- Inadequate uninstall procedures
- Insufficient privacy disclosure and consent
- Uses excessive system resources
- Makes fraudulent claims about spyware detection and removal
- Performs Silent Updates
So I stopped my investigation due to sufficiency of information and decided to take action – it seems a lot of articles have been posted regarding this problem with Sitemeter, as early as 2006 and 2007. I am almost complete in removing this bad cookie monster in all of my sites.
Cookies were developed for some really good reasons. This is one of the very essential tools for website masters, bloggers and online marketers. It helps in determining the stats of your site, like where they came from, browser used, how many times they visited and viewed your site, and some advanced data like age, nationality, household income, clicks, preferences, etc.
However it can also be used to exploit sensitive information, steal personal data, hijack affiliate links, even replace your google adsense ads! Well I am not so well informed about these stuffs, the claims and accusations against Sitemeter and the Specificclick might not be true but it is worth thinking Sitemeter must have earned lots of money by allowing its service be injected with a tracking cookie without even “divulging” it.
How to remove Specificclick.net cookies?
Just go to your browser’s Tools or Preferences settings, clear all cookies, or you can select to clear only “specificclick.net” by searching for it. If you are using Firefox, go to Tools > Options > Privacy > Select either “clear your recent history – everything” or “remove individual cookies” and search for specificclick.net.
If you are using Internet Explorer – whatttt? LOL, hey switch to Firefox or Google Chrome now. It’s faster, safer, and less headache in browsing.