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Hidden strings of data are used to record everything you do while visiting a page, including what you type and where you move your mouse.
In a blog post revealing the findings, Steven Englehardt, a Ph D candidate at Princeton, said: 'Unlike typical analytics services that provide aggregate statistics, these scripts are intended for the recording and playback of individual browsing sessions, as if someone is looking over your shoulder.'Collection of page content by third-party replay scripts may cause sensitive information, such as medical conditions, credit card details, and other personal information displayed on a page, to leak to the third-party as part of the recording.
Researchers also found that other sensitive user information may recorded by 'session replay' scripts, including during account creation, while making a purchase, or while searching the site.
Princeton's team noted that the scripts record the entire contents of a page as it is used.
This is another avenue by which sensitive data could end up in the wrong hands.
Finally, the way in which the data is recorded, accessed and stored leave users vulnerable to data breaches and leaks.
All of the services studied attempt to prevent password leaks by automatically excluding password input fields from recordings.