The spy pixels method is one of the most notorious tracking techniques used by hackers to spy on their victims' emails. Security experts claimed that this technique is now becoming endemic.
BBC News reported that Hey's review revealed that because of its rising numbers, two-thirds of the emails sent to its users' personal accounts are now containing the malicious content, even if they were excluded for spam.
Security experts concluded that the developers of spy pixels confirmed that many of the largest brands are currently using the method to track users' email activities. Once they acquired the needed information, they will use them for their marketing tactics.
On the other hand, the involved companies said that their use of the said technology was stated within their wider privacy policies. If you are using different email services, it is suggested that you read their privacy policies carefully before using their platforms, especially if you are sending sensitive user data.
What is spy pixel?
Spy pixel is usually a PNG or GIF file that is located in the email's header, body, or footer. This content is as small as a 1x1 pixel, which makes it harder for users and even tech experts to identify it.
On the other hand, a spy pixel also has the same color as the email content, making it more difficult to spot using your naked eye. What makes this alarming is that users don't have to click it to activate the spy pixel. Once they open their emails, the spy pixels will automatically track their sensitive info.
Tech firm Hey claimed that the companies that are using this tracking method include, British Airways, TalkTalk, Vodafone, Tesco, HSBC, Marks & Spencer Sainsbury's, Unilever, and Asos.
How to prevent spy pixels
According to Mashable SE Asia's report, the most effective way to prevent spy pixels from tracking your emails is by blocking these images. Preventing them from displaying by default will also stop them from showing up on your emails.
However, you need to remember that once you block your email's images, you need to make extra clicks to see the photos you need to view. You can click here for more information about this technique.