Not your type: websites watching your strokes

Keyboard pieces

Some of your favourite websites could be recording every keystroke you make during your visits, a study has revealed.

According to researchers at the world’s poshest-sounding university, Princeton, nearly 500 sites use something called ‘session replay software’ to capture whatever it is you’ve typed in, whether that be credit card details you readied before chickening out of a purchase, or queries such as ‘how do I declare my house and garden an independent republic no that’s silly delete that’.

Some of the sites that employ such software are those of respected brands such as Reuters, CBS News and Samsung. The Telegraph also uses it.

According to the researchers: ‘These scripts record your keystrokes, mouse movements, and scrolling behaviour, along with the entire contents of the pages you visit, and send them to third-party servers.’

The young princes at Princeton have also warned that the practice could expose users to ‘identity theft, online scams, and other unwanted behaviour’.

And, unsurprisingly, the law may have an interest in all of this. Paul Edon, director at security firm Tripwire, reckons recording people’s keystrokes without telling them that that’s what you’re up to isn’t necessarily legal, saying: ‘If these websites do not alert the user to the fact that they are recording keystrokes, then I would class this under “nefarious activity” as it is being less than honest, and the information is being collected without the user’s knowledge.’

So, maybe think carefully before you type in future. I’m not too concerned myself. All I ever type into the internet is ‘Will we have a white Christmas?’ and ‘Has Scarlett Johansson expressed any attraction to sarcastic tech bloggers yet?’.

Not your type: websites watching your strokes

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