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 Forum index » Off-Topic Area » Security
Google breaks thru VPN? How do they know me?!??!!
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Subito Piano


Joined: 27 May 2007
Posts: 590
Location: UPSTATE New York

PostPosted: Tue 09 May 2017, 23:17    Post subject:  Google breaks thru VPN? How do they know me?!??!!  

(Grrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

So -- here i am doing my best to avoid Google, Facebook, and whatever other company stalks you and/or holds onto one's personal info. I take on a new position and before i even start, they've given my real name to Google for their email and online storage (more grrrrr....). So i try to avoid accessing my work's google-based email or documents from home, accessing them only from work or at home thru TOR. I switched to Opera with VPN, understanding it's a VPN only thru the browser. I THINK i even avoided the big "G" when using Opera.

Then how come when i go to a site i've never been to before and wish to post a comment, then click "log in" -- i get greeted by "Hello [my name]"? How do they know who i am when i'm on a different computer and using VPN to boot???!!!??!

Even if maybe i had checked my gmail account one time on my home computer thru Opera/VPN -- would Google still be able to trace me with so many others using Opera with VPN enabled?
I am REALLY bugged.

Please don't anybody turn this into a discussion about security paranoia, that we can't avoid being watched, or a pro-con argument about Google. I want to know how Google can figure this all out and how i can stop or at least minimize this intrusiveness. I am already taking all sorts of measures to keep their noses out of my business (using a home calendar server, duckduckgo, security addons, sometimes TOR, etc., etc., etc....)

Inisght very much appreciated!

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dancytron

Joined: 18 Jul 2012
Posts: 845

PostPosted: Tue 09 May 2017, 23:23    Post subject:  

It's got to be a cookie. With a VPN they couldn't track you by IP number (and I don't think google does that anyway). But if you signed into google, even with a VPN, then it could have set a cookie in your browser.

Start deleting cookies and see if you can make it go away.
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s243a

Joined: 02 Sep 2014
Posts: 649

PostPosted: Wed 10 May 2017, 00:37    Post subject:  

Are you by chance using gravatar. That site seems very good at tracking people.

As a side note though if then can tell even if you switch computers then perhaps consider getting a different VPN because I can't think of what would connect the two computers besides the ip address.

Also think what service that you might have used that is the same on each computer.
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rufwoof

Joined: 24 Feb 2014
Posts: 2012

PostPosted: Wed 10 May 2017, 06:04    Post subject:  

I'd agree that it does sound like a cookie.

Be aware however that even without IP details 'big data' can profile and associate yourself to PC/devices/location/activity.

Factor in that sites can read things like user-agent, operating system, language, what plugins might be installed or not (no script for example amongst others), screen size, what fonts might be installed/available ... etc. ... along with region (access/routing) ... and through a process of elimination pin it down to being a 'most likely candidate'. I guess that using a more obscure system such as Puppy might make such process of elimination quicker/easier.

As another example of big data, apparently otherwise noise/background sounds can be filtered out of mobile calls to provide potential geographic location even without knowing the cell the call originated from/was currently switched to.

Add in credit card/electronic payments, car registration and facial recognition identification ... and best to assume that there's pretty much nowhere to hide.

In the UK we're moving ever closer to the tax office being able to pre-complete your tax returns such is the extent of awareness. Alongside other big-data that will also reduce fraud (such as wrongfully claiming disabilities). Makes crime detection/prosecution that much quicker/easier also. But comes at the expense of privacy.
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s243a

Joined: 02 Sep 2014
Posts: 649

PostPosted: Wed 10 May 2017, 08:47    Post subject:  

rufwoof wrote:
Factor in that sites can read things like user-agent, operating system, language, what plugins might be installed or not (no script for example amongst others), screen size, what fonts might be installed/available ... etc. ... along with region (access/routing) ... and through a process of elimination pin it down to being a 'most likely candidate'. I guess that using a more obscure system such as Puppy might make such process of elimination quicker/easier.


There's a way to make the browser send a generic user agent string.
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Subito Piano


Joined: 27 May 2007
Posts: 590
Location: UPSTATE New York

PostPosted: Wed 10 May 2017, 08:56    Post subject:  

Very good info. Sorry not to respond sooner, but i posted well after my bedtime and yet before i was done for the day. I will be looking into this further. Thank you all!
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