How to Fool the Tracking Algorithms

By Tanner Abraham •  Updated: 08/11/22 •  7 min read

Today, the statement that everything revolves around technology is not an exaggeration. There are more and more tools that make it possible for them to carry out hundreds of tasks with just a few clicks or the press of a couple of buttons.

This fact has been a great advantage, especially in these times of pandemic where the possibility of contagion is very high and real. Thanks to different types of programs, platforms and applications, daily tasks can continue to be carried out, adjusting them to this new reality.

Although the operation of these programs, at first glance, seems to be very simple, the truth is that hundreds of mechanisms operate behind the screen that make magic possible. However, this is not only limited to the physical part, they also have elements imperceptible to the eye, such as algorithms.

If you are not familiar with mathematics, you may not know what this term encompasses. However, something you should keep in mind is that all social networks and search engines work based on algorithms.

Since they do not know how they work, many users are somewhat suspicious. However, the algorithm performs a task similar to that of the human brain.

In a few words, they carry out an entire search process, in just a few seconds, and are in charge of showing the results to the user. Decisions are made taking into account the information that is available about the user, such as relocation, search history, etc. etc.

Now, what happens when you do not want to provide this information? How can you fool a tracking algorithm? If you are interested in knowing the answer to this question, you cannot stop reading this interesting article. Let’s see it.

Instructions to fool tracking algorithms

As we have already mentioned, algorithms are a set of actions that are carried out, within a computer, very quickly. If a person were to do this work, it could take a long time, as it is a very long process. However, the algorithms simplify the task by doing it in a couple of seconds.

In a nutshell, what they do is use a question to make different decisions based on the answer given and thus return various results that are close to the user’s requirements.

Regardless of what type of algorithm it is, computational, non-computational, qualitative or quantitative; they are basically composed of three main parts that are the input, the process and the output.

The phase of the input corresponds to the data with which it must be fed, that is, the information that is given to it so that it can be able to offer a determined result.

The process is the second phase and occupies the calculations necessary to process the data that has already been entered into the algorithm. And, finally, there is the last phase, which is the output where the results of the operation are obtained.

All this allows us to see the importance of algorithms in our lives. Actually, they are present everywhere. Now, what else do you need to know about them? How can you fool the tracking algorithms?

What do you need to fool the tracking algorithms?

Although it is true that there are different ways to prevent companies from saving information about your browsing, the best way to avoid being tracked is by tricking the algorithms responsible for it.

By doing so, the objective of this is to overwhelm the companies that are in charge of monitoring your browsing with excess information. In this way, its algorithms fail to create a real profile that is fully identifiable.

To achieve this, you will need the help of external services, such as browser extensions. These tools are responsible for clicking on all the publications that appear, while you are browsing, without even noticing it. With this, a large amount of information is sent to the browser, which is also false.

In this way, the algorithm in charge of the advertising analysis service will not be able to process all this information or identify your profile.

There are other extensions with which the crawling algorithms can also be tricked. However, its mechanism of action is different. In this case, they launch constant searches so that the search engine cannot identify which are the topics that you consult the most in your search engine.

Every day more and more evolved algorithms are developed for the analysis of our behavior on the Internet; they track every movement that is made on different platforms and then create a veritable bombardment of posts showing items to buy.

In addition, they show tabs with accounts and posts that invite you to explore. However, as we have seen, it is possible to confuse or trick these algorithms to avoid being tracked and make it difficult to assess your personal data.

All this is possible thanks to machine learning or automatic learning, that is, a branch of artificial intelligence that makes it easier for machines to learn without having to be programmed for that. This ability makes the system able to identify patterns between the different data to make predictions.

When talking about privacy on the Internet, it is normal that the first thing that comes to mind is related to the care we must take to avoid cyber-attacks. However, we must not forget that we are exposed to other types of risks, such as the consented storage of personal information.

Since all the movements you make on the Internet will end up being tracked and stored, in addition to fooling the algorithms responsible for this, you can take some precautions to reduce the amount of personal data stored on the servers. But, what are those cares?

Tips for fooling tracking algorithms

The first measure, to maintain the maximum level of anonymity during browsing time, is to use a browser that is secure. To do this, it will not be enough for you to resort to the automatic navigation option of Google Chrome, Safari or others, since these servers will continue to store your personal information.

One of the most effective alternatives is Tor. This is a type of browser that is responsible for alternating the IP addresses that are recorded on each web page you visit in order to prevent you from leaving your mark on the Internet and, therefore, from being tracked.

This browser is also responsible for accessing web pages that have been blocked by geographical area. Using it is very simple, you just have to download it and that’s it! As easy as taking a toy from a kid.

Another secure browser is Braving. On the one hand, it is responsible for blocking all advertisements, which you can consult whenever you want. In addition to this, it speeds up browsing speed, ensuring that your Internet browsing activity does not leave traces that could be tracked.

A second measure would be to use trustworthy search engines. Keep in mind that all the searches you make from Google, Yahoo or Bing are stored on the servers of these companies, which are responsible for recording your profile based on your interests and preferences.

However, you can prevent this from happening by only using search engines that do not save your search history and do not share that data with third parties, such as Facebook, Integra, etc., to bombard you with countless advertisements of all kinds.

While it is true that these alternatives are unconventional, they are your best option to protect your personal information and to avoid leaving a footprint on the Internet that can be tracked by algorithms. We could say that this is another way to deceive or avoid them.

By taking these recommendations into account, you will be able to surf the web safely, without the slightest risk that your personal information may be used by third parties without your prior authorization.

Tanner Abraham

Data Scientist and Software Engineer with a focus on experimental projects in new budding technologies that incorporate machine learning and quantum computing into web applications.