The Top Browser Fingerprinting Techniques Explained
When users engage in online activities such as shopping, visiting websites, chatting, and consuming content, they leave footprints on the World Wide Web. With these footprints, you can learn a lot about a person. In our article, we will talk about what a digital fingerprint is and how it can be useful in traffic arbitration.
What is a digital fingerprint
A fingerprint is information collected about a device for further identification. By itself, it is not of great value as most often these are such trifles. But in the aggregate, this information can be used to determine behavioral patterns, and then completely identify the user.
The browser fingerprint includes the following data:
- Browser and type of operating system;
- Device type – desktop, tablet or smartphone;
- Language settings;
- Screen resolution;
- Cookie settings;
- System fonts;
- Browser plugins and more.
By the way, IP is also included in the digital fingerprint. But even without IP, one can understand that a person can be identified quite accurately from these data, the probability of two fingerprints matching tends to zero.
How does digital fingerprint work?
When you visit websites, your device communicates with a server. It assigns a unique identifier to the visitor, a string of random numbers and letters. The identifier will help the server to identify you. For example, in order to enter the site immediately in your account, and not enter your login and password every time.
Another digital fingerprint helps the user to see the content optimized for him. If he visits the site from a mobile device, then the site will be demonstrated in the version for smartphones.
In traffic affiliation, digital fingerprints are the building blocks on which advertising is built. They help to show the advertisement to the target audience. The affiliate can set the ad to be shown only to users with low resolution devices – digital fingerprints will identify such people and filter the data.
It is worth noting that the identifier is not something like a passport for the user. If you access the site from a different device or even browser, you will be assigned a different unique identifier.
How are digital fingerprints collected
Fingerprinting is the collection of digital fingerprints of devices. There are several ways to collect this data, but most often this is done using cookies.
Cookies are small text files that contain data to improve the user experience of a website. The correct display of the site on any device, notifications and saving data in the account, all this helps to make cookies. In return, they pass user data to the site. Cookies store information about your browsing behavior, down to the pictures you upload. If you wish, you can refuse the collection of cookies, in the EU and the USA, the collection of personal data is seriously monitored.
Another way to collect user data is Canvas Fingerprint. This is part of HTML5 that allows you to process graphical content. Such a fingerprint “removes” data about the graphics adapter, drivers and fonts. At the same time, Canvas Fingerprint collects data in the background, without storing it in the device’s memory. So, you can clear your cookies and get rid of some of your digital fingerprints. But Canvas Fingerprint is collected in the background and is not stored on the device.
How to protect yourself from fingerprinting
Digital fingerprints, while highly accurate, are not an exceptionally reliable way to identify a user. It is quite possible to protect yourself from collecting them.
Companies have released a range of technologies to preserve anonymity. For example, anti-detect browsers like Gologin and Multilogin generally do not support fingerprinting. Interaction with sites becomes somewhat worse, but anonymity does not suffer either.
Completely anonymous browsers like TOR also allow you to hide from fingerprinting. You need to use them with caution, many of them are still “raw” and vulnerable.
Proxy and VPN
Anonymization tools also help mask digital fingerprints. Strictly speaking, fingerprints are still stored, only it becomes impossible to correlate them with IP and other data to determine the user. The system will try to track a non-existent person.
Alternatively, you can make the fingerprint of the device unrecognizable. To do this, you need to arrange a complete mess in the browser, change the language, change the time zone, and install various plugins that are not related to each other. It’s worth visiting a lot of different sites randomly. The print after that will be difficult to parse and the systems will not be able to use it.
In principle, the digital fingerprint itself changes up to 3 times a month due to changes in brightness settings, browser and operating system updates. Right now, even big techs like Microsoft and Google cannot accurately track a user with just a fingerprint.
Why technology is important to an affiliate specialist
The fact is that digital fingerprints are used by various services in anti-fraud systems. For example, banks help filter user behavior from scammers in this way. Of course, other identifiers are also used there, but Canvas Fingerprint is one of the main ones there.
However, Google uses exactly the same technologies and at the same time considers working with multiple accounts as fraudulent. It is inconvenient for an arbitrator to work with one account.
In fact, to work in traffic arbitration, you will have to develop digital fingerprints – visit various sites, register in services, make posts. Together with a VPN and a proxy, this will convince the system that the case is with a real person from Philadelphia, Vancouver or London.
- A device fingerprint is data about a device that is created to further identify it. These data have a high degree of uniqueness.
- By itself, a digital fingerprint cannot determine the identity of the user. But together with other data it is possible to do this.
- Digital fingerprints are used in anti-fraud systems that prevent fraudulent accounts.
- In traffic affiliation, you have to develop realistic digital fingerprints in order to make an account with Google or other services. Otherwise they will be banned.
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