Today, internet users want to know everything they can about their digital privacy, including browser fingerprinting. Simply put, browser fingerprinting is a method of tracking the internet users online by identifying their browser activity online with accuracy and immense precision.
Everything an internet user does online can be traced and tracked. Each time an internet user uses their browser to browse the internet, they leave a fingerprint on the web that can be traced back to them.
With increasing concern about the digital privacy of internet users, many people want to know how to prevent third parties from tracking their online activities. Let’s see what browser fingerprinting is, how it works, and what you can do to wipe off your fingerprints.
Defining Browser Fingerprinting
Browser fingerprinting is a technique used by countless websites and third-party applications to identify the activity of internet users online and match user data to a specific IP address. Apps and websites gather data about the user’s online activities to collect enough information on their online habits, websites they frequent, the content they prefer, etc.
Each time you visit some website, it’ll most likely identify your IP address, regardless of which device you use to connect to the internet. Each device you use uses the same IP to go online and send out specific pieces of user information. Since each user is unique, each fingerprint is unique as well.
Browser fingerprinting is mostly used by advertising, marketing, and surveying websites, although business organizations also tend to rely on every data-gathering technique to find out more about their consumers.
They collect information about online customers such as:
- Version and type of browser they’re using
- Operating system
- Active plugins
- Social media activities
- Screen resolution
How Browser Fingerprinting Works
It’s a known thing that websites gather large amounts of user data, store it, and use it to identify their activities online. They achieve this by matching each set of user data to specific browsers, using several different techniques.
Websites gather specific information by using cookies, which are meant to make browsing internet content more user-friendly. However, these cookies use your device as data storage, where each cookie is a simple text file containing specific user data about each device.
Every time a user visits a website, the website loads the cookies, identifies the user, and starts tracking their online activity. It collects information such as their interests, preferences, shopping behavior, etc.
As digital technology advances, so do the browser fingerprinting techniques. One of the more advanced and contemporary techniques of browser fingerprinting is canvas fingerprinting.
Modern websites written in HTML5 code can add a unique fingerprinting code to gather users’ fingerprints. While you can delete the cookies, canvas fingerprinting doesn’t use the device as data storage, preventing the user from manually deleting it.
Why Is This a Problem for Web Scraping?
Since websites use browser fingerprinting as a tracking method to gather user data and identify users’ browsers, they can use that configuration information to prevent web scraping bots from scraping information off of their web pages.
If you’re into web scraping for the sake of gathering valuable data, websites can rely on browser fingerprinting as a primary method of verification of user activity. If a website detects suspicious user activity, they can detect it and block/ban it. That’s a huge challenge that many web scraping companies have to deal with when scraping the web for valuable data.
Ways to Improve Browser Uniqueness
If you want to prevent browser fingerprinting, you need to improve your browser uniqueness. There are numerous ways you can do that:
- Avoid using odd browsers and use the most popular ones instead to reduce the chance of leaving a unique fingerprint.
- Avoid using unique user agents as they increase the chance of leaving a unique fingerprint.
- Try to use as few plugins as possible, as the amount of plugins used greatly impacts your browser uniqueness.
- Use the Tor Browser to prevent browser fingerprinting and increase your privacy and security. You can also pair it with a VPN to keep your online activity completely private.
Aside from these common methods, you can also use the GoLogin proxy integration to change and configure your browser settings and reduce your fingerprint. GoLogin is an app that allows you to manage your browser profiles by allowing you to sync, share, and store sensitive data.
Aside from helping improve your browser and user experience, this app also makes web scraping easier, and it allows you to gain complete control over your fingerprints and browsing experience. However, GoLogin can’t provide proxies on its own. You’ll need to integrate proxies with the app. Fortunately, the process of GoLogin proxy integration is simple.
Most internet users are becoming increasingly concerned with digital privacy and third parties tracking their online behaviors. That’s why more and more users are looking for the best solutions to prevent websites from tracking them and gathering their private data.
Since browser fingerprinting plays an important role in collecting user data, these tips should help you reduce your fingerprints online and keep your activity more private.