Chapter 3. Footprints, Fingerprints, and Connections

Whether simply browsing the web or using the most complex of online tools, users leave behind a distinct trail in the logs of each server they interact with. Sometimes these logs are discarded, but in the case of large online companies, logs are aggregated, mined, and used to create user profiles to help target advertising. These are core points of this book, but what exactly do these logs contain, how is the data captured, and how can users be uniquely identified? This chapter answers these questions by covering how logs are created when using web-based applications and the primary pieces of information they can contain, including information provided by network protocols, software applications ...

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