Not only a person leaves prints. Devices that have access to the web are also leave prints. The information that is in the prints allows to identify those devices after their first visit to any source. The collected indicators are called device fingerprints.
Why is "device fingerprint" needed and why should it be used for protection
Analytical cervices collect necessary information about browser configuration, which users use to visit websites. Such data contains common characteristics (localization, ip-address, device and OS types). With help of script languages deeper information can be collected. With conection of those two flows we get device fingerprint.
Nowadays programms are able to getinformation from:
- personal computers
- smart phones
This mechanism is designed for several purposes. A fingerprint allows you to track the movements of the device on the network, which means that companies collect personal information and are able to compose an image of the consumer. With its help, brands effectively promote themselves and advertise goods or services. A digital imprint is one of the important elements of complex protection, for owners of the same Internet resources. The collected information will protect against:
- fraud with payments, credit cards and accounts
- poor-quality or undesirable content
- cunning users who are trying to circumvent the terms of the shares and the discount offers.
The bottom line: with the "device fingerprint" sites are able to protect themselves from fraudulent traffic.
How it works
Fingerprint works in two modes - hidden and active
A hidden way to remove a digital fingerprint from the device occurs without the user's knowledge. This method is used to determine the configuration of network protocols and Wi-Fi settings (information is most often collected at public access points).
Active fingerprint is performed with the consent of the client. A special code is specially installed on the device and used for good purposes (for example, for advanced copyright protection).
It is critisized for:
There are complaints about the fingerprint in the user and expert environment. It is a process that, in their opinion, violates confidentiality and human rights. Lawyers and human rights defenders also negatively relate to such technologies. Developers and professionals in the field of computer security believe that the digital fingerprint is regarded as a potential cause of browser vulnerability.
What "device fingeprint" is waiting for in the future and what drawbacks it retains
Until 2017, scammers who wanted to commit unscrupulous actions on sites, easily bypassed fingerprint technology, because it covered only one user's browser. The fraudster changed the web browser and continued the scam. Now there is a cross-browser fingerprint technology that does not miss the user's track, even if it changes browsers on the device.
Only smart phones and special programs with an increased level of security cause a bit more difficulty in reading their digital prints. Criminals are still able to change quickly the "digital essence" by using a new browser or virtual host, considering the novelty and non-spread of new cross-browser fingerprint technology.