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We have written about online privacy and the tools that claim absolute privacy: Proxies, VPN and similar software. But we didn’t think the websites already know who you are! This method is called Device Fingerprinting or Browser Fingerprinting. In this article, we will talk about what Browser Fingerprint is and see if we have methods to avoid the tracking or tracing method.
But if you use a proxy and a VPN, are these things important? One proxy only changes your location. No extensions are added or removed from your browser or its settings are changed. Similarly, one VPN will not change the screen resolution and pixel depth. None of them can prevent the site from querying fonts installed on your computer or hiding their command to make it look like another computer.
Back to what the browser fingerprint is, there are third party companies that identify you among the millions of other visitors to a particular website. Most of the data is obtained by querying your browser: The number of extensions, the extensions installed, the browser settings, the cookies you have been allowed to store on your computer and this data. Some companies add a script to know the configuration of your system. In short, they identify you first and then follow you, usually for profit!
Now that you know that websites can identify you using different methods, you may want to know how to avoid this type of spying.
If you tend to do so, you can test the uniqueness of your browser by visiting this Panopticlick link. This page tells you how easy or difficult it would be to find the browser’s fingerprints.
Read: Traffic Fingerprinting website.
Although there are plugins for Chrome and Firefox that claim to do the job by randomly enabling and disabling add-ons, I don’t think it can really work. It would also inform web pages about your browser using these special plugins. They only enable or disable other plug-ins, so websites can always read what all plug-ins and extensions are, even if they are disabled.
You can add plug-ins manually before starting the browser session. And each time you can delete them and add other plugins. Again, this is not a robust response to prevent or disable browser fingerprints.
I’m not sure, but I think I read somewhere that you can disable the system request by disabling Flash on your computer, since websites use Flash scripts to query your computer. If any of you have any information, please let us know.
Some may think that using InCognito or InPrivate mode may help. But without extensions, it’s still a unique identity to your browser, Hey, it’s the guy who always uses the InCognito mode…………… but I can see the extensions he’s waiting for on his browser…………… I can also see his browser settings.
Among the different steps you can take to prevent or disable fingerprinting in your browser, you can also try them:
- See how to block fingerprints on canvas in Chrome and Firefox.
This is what I found on the fingerprint in the browser. The only good news is that few pages use this technique – yet!
If you think I missed something or if you want to add something, please let us know in the comments fields.
Now read about browsers’ fingerprints and how you can find the unique fingerprint of your browser and computer.