What Is Website Fingerprinting?

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Author: Lisa
Published: 27 Nov 2021

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Browser fingerprinting is a method that websites use to collect information about your browser type and version, as well as your operating system, active plugins, timezone, language, screen resolution, and various other active settings. Cookies are used to obtain your data. Cookies are small packets of text files that are stored on your computer, which may contain information that improves the user experience.

Browser Fingerprinting: How to Protect Your Device from Online Threats

Browser fingerprinting can give you enough specific attributes about your device and settings to be identified from a large crowd of internet users and billions of devices. The device can identify users with 90 to 99% accuracy. Cookies and fingerprints are not the same.

Tracking cookies are also able to follow you around the web, so you might be more familiar with this than with digital fingerprints. Dynamic pricing is an example of how browser fingerprinting is used. Travel and ecommerce sites can adjust prices based on a variety of factors.

If browser fingerprinting can show your location in an affluent area, you can expect prices to rise on almost everything you see online, including airline tickets, clothes, apps, and subscription services. A browser that has anti-fingerprinting protection is another option. Some browsers are starting to fight back against online fingerprints.

Identifying Yourself Online

It can be difficult to remain anonymous online. There are many ways to identify yourself online. One of the easiest and most straightforward methods to detect is an internet address.

You can reveal your identity by using cookies, software, or by logging into an account with your real name and picture. One test might be unable to identify you while another test can. It is almost impossible to fool every single metric with the many different techniques.

How to use canvas fingerprinting in browser browsing

To reduce false positives and false negatives, your fingerprints should combine signals from many sources. Stable signals will reduce your chances of a false positive, whereas a signal with a highly unique one will reduce your chances of a false negative. One of the main advantages of fingerprints is that they are stateless.

A well-implemented fingerprint can be used to remain stable through multiple sessions, incognito browsing, uninstalling or reinstalling apps, or clearing cookies. The two methods in conjunction with one another can give a higher % accuracy than either method alone. Browser fingerprinting uses canvas fingerprinting as one of the most popular techniques.

How to Avoid a User's Fingerprint in the Browser

The most common way to retarget ads on the web is through browser cookies, and apps can use the advertiser ID provided by both iOS and Android. The user can clear cookies and advertiser IDs to remove persistent identifier linked to their particular browser or mobile device. Think of your browsing habits as a string of pins on a board.

A tracker can trace the string of pins that represent the sites you've visited, and see what you've visited in the past. The more you cut the string, the smaller it becomes. The most common user agent on the web is not Safari for the iPad.

The latest version of Chrome for Windows is the most common user-agent. If the user were to change the user-agent string in the browser to something else, they would appear completely different. They are the only one who has canvas fingerprints on their iPad and also on their Windows computer.

Those trying to avoid fingerprints have to be careful that they don't hurt their privacy by helping it. You have to join a privacy pool of other users that have the same fingerprints as you to blend in. To make all instances of their browser relatively common, the safest bet is to choose something like a browser like the one used by the likes of Brave, or the one used by the likes of Firefox.

Passive Fingerprints

Human fingerprints are similar to the fingerprints in the digital world. A fingerprint is a group of information that can be used to detect software, network protocols, operating systems or hardware devices. Once the attackers have the right information, they can create a full infrastructure map of all your services and network to fine- tune their digital assault.

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