Just as a fingerprint reveals a person’s unique human identity, a browser fingerprint can reveal unique traits regarding a person’s online behavior. Browser fingerprinting is an used primarily to trace the activities of a specific person and to identify them.
But what kind of information is collected and what are the methods for conducting browser fingerprinting? Can we find out how identifiable we are on the Internet? And above all, are there ways to protect ourselves? Let’s find out.
What kind of information is collected by the browser’s fingerprints?Browser fingerprinting tracking is more invasive than cookie-based tracking and can even bypass virtual private networks (VPNs).
Information such as user’s device model, browser version, operating system, browser extensions, user’s time zone, preferred language settings, ad blocker used, screen size and resolution and all the granular technical specifications of the computer’s processing unit (CPU),
graphics card, and so on are collected through browser fingerprinting.Generally, the information collected is sufficient to identify a specific user from the huge expanse of Internet users.Methods used to perform the browser fingerprint
Browser fingerprinting, also known as device fingerprinting, is an invisible process. It is a set of data collection techniques that identify users based on the unique attributes of their device.
Using a combination of the revealed attributes, companies can identify users based on simple data.Below are some ways this practice is performed by marketers and data brokers.Fingerprints on canvas
A canvas is a code element for websites written in HTML5. This code draws graphics on a Web page and also generates data such as the font size or the setting of the active background color. All of these specifications come into play when creating a unique user ID to track a user from a user pool.Fingerprint iOS or Android
This method is used to check how devices reproduce audio. The vendor and version of a browser can affect the subtle differences in the sound waves generated by a digital oscillator. Users can be identified by looking at values such as Audio Buffer, Oscillator or Compressor.WebGL fingerprints
Is the browser fingerprint the same as cookie tracking?
Most people confuse browser fingerprinting with cookie tracking. Although cookies also track you online, they are regulated and mostly need to ask for permission.However, the fingerprinting takes place behind the scenes without any knowledge or consent. The scripts used for fingerprinting are also quite identical to other scripts used to make a website work.
With cookies, you can delete them if you wish. However, it is not possible to delete the browser fingerprint. Your browser’s fingerprint follows you on the web and reveals your identity every time you visit the sites.