View Full Version : Spy ware is EVIL - Fact

Nills Lagerbaak
17-02-2006, 11:35:29
Ok, up 'till now I thought spyware was just a harmless bit of marketing stuff but get this....

Apparantly a lot of internet flight booking companies will install counters on your computer that count the number of time you perform a search. They will then increase the price of the flight to make it look like the flight is booking up! This has been tested by perfoming the same seacrch on different cxomputers.

17-02-2006, 11:50:45

17-02-2006, 11:51:54
did someone send you this in an e-mail nils, looks like a ctrl-c job

17-02-2006, 11:53:28
I have to say that on the main plane search sites I use, that definitely hasn't been the case.

Nothing on snopes...

Nills Lagerbaak
17-02-2006, 11:57:35
Nah, it wasn't a Ctl C job, I was just recounting something the guy who sits next to me said (as I was checking out flights to Istanbul). Obviously I haven't tested it, but his girlf did...

Nills Lagerbaak
17-02-2006, 12:00:17
and to be honest I really wouldn't put it past people like sleazy-jet.

17-02-2006, 12:01:38
You know what does happen...

If you select some seats it temporarily removes them from sale until you complete your purchase or exit the site.

Then after about 5 minutes if you don't buy them it releases the tickets back into the pool again...

So she'd see that if she ran the same search twice immediately after each other then changed to another computer a bit later.

17-02-2006, 12:02:36
so we're not so much talking spyware here as a regular booking system

17-02-2006, 12:03:31
It's not spy ware, it just guarantees that if you select tickets at a certain price you still get them even if someone else starts the process seconds after you.

Nills Lagerbaak
17-02-2006, 12:25:31
No, she didn't test it by reserving the seats, she mearly did a generic search, then left it at that.
I suppose it is possible that she searched specifying the number of seats, but it didn't sound like that.

17-02-2006, 12:54:00
Yeah, but on sleasyjet just doing the search they assume means you are starting booking and it takes those seats (at that price) off the plane until you buy them or they time out.

Try the same thing on the same machine but leave it 10 mins between searches.

Nills Lagerbaak
17-02-2006, 12:59:32
Ah, I see your point. I think I should explain the experiment.

search was performed on computer 1. Price was x.

Search was performed on computer 2 (ASAP afterwards). price was x
Search was performed on a few more computers price remined exactly the same.

Search was performed on compuet 1 again, this time the price was higher.
Search performed on Computer 2 again, same higher price.

(This was done in a compuet lab if you wonder where all these PCs came from)

17-02-2006, 13:00:26

So when did the price go back down again?

17-02-2006, 13:01:04
Because these days the prices do tend to go up every time someone buys a seat. ie. How does she know someone didn't actually buy a seat in the meantime?

Nills Lagerbaak
17-02-2006, 13:02:10
Eh? The price was down on any PC that hadn't done that search. It didn't go back down on the same search, for a PC that had already doen the search for as long as she tried.

Nills Lagerbaak
17-02-2006, 13:03:10
Different PCs were returning different prices depending on how many times they had done the search.
Something fishy was going on

17-02-2006, 13:03:35
ok you didn't say that after the price had gone up she then tried it on fresh PCs.

Nills Lagerbaak
17-02-2006, 13:04:19
Ah yes, that is fairly crucial to the deduction!

17-02-2006, 13:04:26
Which site was it?

For instance on Easy Jet I've started and not booked (ie searched) the same things many times in a day and the price hasn't gone up.

17-02-2006, 13:21:52
Don't know about prices going up after searches are done, but did notice something when booking with easy jet.
Advertised price on tickest increased once into the booking process. I think the initial quotation was something like 20% below the actual price when it came to booking.
If it is doing what Nills suggests then surely that would be cookie related rather than being spyware????

Nills Lagerbaak
17-02-2006, 13:33:29
coockies tell you r computer what to do, they don't inform the website of what your computer has been doing. At least I think....

17-02-2006, 13:49:29
Cookies are files stored on your computer by the website so the website can look up information about what you have previously done.

Nills Lagerbaak
17-02-2006, 13:55:57
Ah, I thought it was the other way round. Surely that would make more sense - Your computer stores a file associated with a web-page and then every time you visit the same site it reads the cookie?

17-02-2006, 14:01:31
That is exactly what I said. But the file is stored BY the website on your computer. Not by some magic on your computer.

Nills Lagerbaak
17-02-2006, 14:09:15
But why should the website know anything about the file. Your computer should generate it when you visit a site and then refer to it....but I suppose it wouldn't know what features of the site use cookies.....but then they should change the way websites are made. Fact!

17-02-2006, 14:10:09
How would the 'computer' know what the website wanted to store on your machine?

That doesn't make any sense.

Nills Lagerbaak
17-02-2006, 14:12:10
Yeah that's what I thought I haven't really thought my Internet revokution through, but...maybe the website should tell you PC that it has a field for password and login name. Then your computer generates a file with passrd and login (for example) which it refers to every time you visit the site?

17-02-2006, 14:14:14
That's basically what happens...

You are really confusing me today. :lol:

Nills Lagerbaak
17-02-2006, 14:16:20
But with my method, the website never "reads" the cookie, so how can it know how many times you've visited it, only your computer knows that?!?! ??!?!?!:clueless: :clueless:

17-02-2006, 14:16:34
I thought this was a long fishing for an own goal....

17-02-2006, 14:20:58
Originally posted by Nills Lagerbaak
But with my method, the website never "reads" the cookie, so how can it know how many times you've visited it, only your computer knows that?!?! ??!?!?!:clueless: :clueless:

If the website never reads it it's totally pointless.

Nills Lagerbaak
17-02-2006, 14:24:56
Yeah, good point. I forgot that a website is somewhere else! Cookies suck and can't be trusted.

17-02-2006, 14:25:04

17-02-2006, 14:25:30
they are really useful but can be abused...

17-02-2006, 14:54:29
Did you two just spend about 10 posts totally agreeing with each other masked in some veil of absolute confusion :lol:

17-02-2006, 14:57:02
I think I pointed out to Nills that his idea was stupid but I don't really know what his idea was.

17-02-2006, 15:01:02
I think what he was trying to say was that instead of the website generating the cookie, it just tells the computer what it needs and somehow the computer creates it.
Or where there is already a cookie for that site, the computer feeds it to the website.
So basically the website isn't storing or reading anything directly on the machine, but just telling the computer what to do.
Of course, it could tell it anything......

17-02-2006, 15:03:58
Ideally you'd make it write "Nikhil is gay" over and over again on the screen...

Nills Lagerbaak
17-02-2006, 15:05:56
Well done Tizzy, you could be part of my internet revolution.

Basically your PC recognises that a website has a field for (say) password. Then when you click in that field your computer fills in your (say) passord from your cookie.

Nills Lagerbaak
17-02-2006, 15:07:29
Better the website telling your computer nonsense (but you retaining control of the cookie created) than having free access to a file stored on your computer.

17-02-2006, 15:07:49
Most browsers do your 'internet revolution' thing already.

17-02-2006, 15:09:07
password remembering in the browser (computer based) and even automatic type ahead form filling are totally standard.

Nills Lagerbaak
17-02-2006, 15:14:10
So, let's be done with cookies accessed by / transmitting data too a website!

17-02-2006, 15:15:46
Problem is they can only do standard fields unless you tell the browser something else to store, in which case you need a cookie.

17-02-2006, 15:16:45
Stuff like, when you last looked at the forum and which threads you have read so that it can keep your unread marks...

Nills Lagerbaak
17-02-2006, 15:25:40
Yes, I understand how they can be abused. I might disable all my cookies from now on.

If I repeat myself / post in the wrong forum / you never see me again, then I'm sorry.

17-02-2006, 15:54:18
Originally posted by Funko
Ideally you'd make it write "Nikhil is gay" over and over again on the screen...

and you can talk for sure...

....where was that link... :lol:

oh, yeah, easy to remember :D