A flaw in Internet Explorer may let ad firms track your every move


Posted: 12/14/12 04:56 PM ET

Originally posted Dec 13, 2012 on Engadget by Jon Fingas, revised for AOL by Rob Zanicchi

It can feel a bit creepy when those pesky web ads try to lure you into buying that car you researched the day before -- kinda like you're being watched. Now, users of Microsoft's Internet Explorer may have good reason to be paranoid as ad analytics firm, Spider.io, claims security flaws in IE can lead to outlets tracking your mouse movements.

A hole in the JavaScript (a type of coding used to build websites), incorporated in versions 6 through 10 of the popular browser, reportedly allows intruders to follow along with the onscreen pointer, regardless of whether the app is active or running in the background. According to the data organization, an attacker can view your cursor gestures by simply buying ad space on any webpage you visit. Virtual keyboards, like those in many tablets, could be targeted since fingers or styluses mimic a mouse to input information. Microsoft has confirmed that it's investigating the glitch, but also takes issue with the source of the accusatory report.

The Redmond-based team argues that other web browsers have "similar capabilities" (which Spider debates) and Spider.io has ulterior motives -- being an ad analytics firm itself -- it allegedly wants to knock down two competitors that are supposedly utilizing the flaw for business purposes. We've asked Spider.io for comment, and we'll update this post if we're told more. Microsoft reinforces that they're "actively working to adjust this behavior" -- in the meantime, you may want to use another browser.

Via: The Verge
Source: Spider.io, IEBlog