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What is the browser fingerprint? What does it have to do with cookies

February 09 2021

What is a browser fingerprint?

Browser fingerprint: Collect information about remote computer equipment for identification purposes. Even if cookies are turned off, fingerprints can be used to fully or partially identify a single user or device. Unlike web cookies that are stored on the client-side (ie, on the user’s device), the device fingerprint needs to be stored on the server-side (ie, stored in a database).

When you use an electronic device to connect to the Internet, your device will send the relevant content data of the website you visit to the receiving server. The website can also be collected based on your browser type and your operating habits, plug-ins, time zone, language, screen resolution, IP address and other activities.

You may think that there is nothing wrong with these data, and it does not mean that the target person under the information is a specific person, but if these data match other people, the probability of having a 100% match is very small.

Why are browser fingerprints used?

Advertising companies use it to locate specific customer groups, which indirectly means that the company’s income is higher; browser fingerprints can also be used to identify the characteristics of botnets, which may identify fraudsters and other suspicious activities that need to be investigated, and banks use this Ways to identify potential fraud cases.

Cookies have always been the main body of digital advertising. Cookies cannot provide a reliable way to track the usage of mobile devices and can be easily deleted by consumers. Cookies make advertisements and advertising activities easier to be identified by ad blockers, thus effectively eliminating advertisers. Any opportunity to establish contact with potential customers. The browser fingerprint solves this problem and provides a tracking method for tracking work that the cookie cannot complete.

What method is used to track browser fingerprints?

1.Cookie tracking

A common method for websites to obtain data is a cookie, which is a small packet of text files stored on a computer. Part of the data contained in it can provide information for the website to improve the user experience. Every time you visit a website, some websites will request to visit your cookie, and some websites directly visit your cookie, which is convenient for you to browse and use the website. Cookies also store data about browsing activities, habits, interests, etc.

2.Canvas fingerprints

There is a small piece of code inside the website written in HTML5 code that can bring your browser’s fingerprints. HTML5 is the coding language used to build the website and is the core foundation of each website. There is an element in the HTML5 coding language called the “canvas”.

3.Browser fingerprint and IP address

The IP address is a unique string of numbers. When a user interacts with a website or service, the request is sent to the receiving web server, and the receiving server needs an IP address to send a response. The IP address also points directly to your device, and some highly skilled websites can track your information.

How to prevent browser fingerprints from being attacked?

We have no way to completely prevent from being attacked, and we can use tools to enhance online privacy to minimize the possibility of identification.

1.Use the private browsing method

Use some browsers that allow users to browse in incognito mode. The incognito mode sets the “profile” to certain standard data points to make your browsing private and greatly reduce the chance of you having a unique fingerprint.

2.Use plug-ins

There are some plugins that prohibit websites from using trackers to run on the browser, but it also means that the user experience will be unsatisfactory. You can whitelist them to prohibit plugins from running on websites you trust.

3.Disable JavaScript and Flash

After disabling, the website will not be able to detect the active plug-ins and font lists you use, and it will not be able to install cookies on your browser. The disadvantage is that the website’s failure to operate normally will affect your browsing experience. Disabling flash will not affect the user experience.

We can also install anti-malware tools, use VPN, and use Tor Browser.

The digital environment is becoming more and more complex. Browser fingerprint recognition is a serious threat to online privacy. It is not only as simple as checking IP, but also beyond the scope of others. As cookies become increasingly difficult to identify online users, new technologies such as browser recognition (relying on static, unchanging information) will play an important role in powering digital advertising.

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