Browser fingerprinting or device fingerprinting is a technique of collecting important attributes of your device and creating a unique profile to track you across the web. Marketers often use browser fingerprints to identify your shopping preference and show tailored ads to you.
The process runs in the background when your browser connects to a website, so you might not have any idea of what is going on. Using an anti detect browser is the only way to avoid such tracking. Read about antidetect browsers to know more.
Device Fingerprinting Explained
Websites use several different techniques to connect your online identity to the real you. Their codes usually contain different scripts to show the web content properly. Some codes are included in the script that tells your browser to transmit crucial information about your device, operating system, installed apps, screen resolution, etc.
Here are some of the most commonly used fingerprinting methods.
User-agent of a browser is simply a string. This string contains information about your system, such as the operating system, browser name, browser version, etc. If you look at the user agent of Firefox on Windows 7, you’ll find the following:
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:12.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/12.0
Here, the string is telling the web server that you are using Windows 7, the code name of which is Windows NT 6.1. It also shows that the Windows version is 64-bit. The browser name and version are also shown at the end.
The IP address refers to a string of numbers that are used to identify a device connected to the internet. It’s almost like your house address, but this identification is a 32-bit number. These addresses are assigned by your ISP. An IP address is a unique number that differentiates your device from other devices on the internet.
So, it is a great way to track your IP address to collect information like your device type, geolocation, time zone, and many more. This information is then used to track your online presence, browsing history and preference, news and shopping preference, etc.
We’re sure you love freshly baked cookies. But digital cookies are a bit different. They are small packets of data that web servers ping to your browser, and the browser sends the packet back with certain information about your system.
One good thing about cookies is they ask for your consent before sending the data packet. Cookies are stored on your device, so you can delete them if you want. They help web servers show optimized results for your device and are used vastly in the ad tech industry.
How Marketers Use Device Fingerprints?
As we have already mentioned, user agents send crucial data about your system. So, the web server will instantly know whether you are using an expensive Mac or an inexpensive device such as a small-screen tablet or smartphone.
Though it becomes easier for the server to send optimized web pages to your browser by knowing their characteristics, marketers use this data to find their target audiences.
The IP address also plays a great role in classifying visitors to a website. You’ll even find APIs to correlate your earnings with your IP address. These APIs can determine the average income of your surroundings.
Marketers then use this data to tailor their ads. For example, the ads of expensive accessories for a MacBook will only be shown to Mac users. This way, marketers can reach the maximum of their target audience by selecting specific parameters.
Other factors like geolocations, time zones, languages, etc., are also used to identify the target audience.
How to Maintain Privacy Online?
Hiding IP addresses by using virtual private networks or deleting cookie files from your device to avoid fingerprinting are just ways to solace yourself. You can still be tracked with browser fingerprinting, which runs beyond your knowledge.
The only way to remove your browsing footprint is to use an antidetect browser. These browsers use several techniques to manipulate crucial information and prevent web servers from building a unique profile by randomly changing attributes.
As a result, web servers don’t get definitive information to identify your device as a distinct one. You can visit the link mentioned above to know how antidetect browsers work.
Knowing your preferences is the key to showing customized ads to you. Web servers track your online activity without your consent by using device fingerprinting. These fingerprints are a great asset for marketers to identify you as their potential customer.
The only way to avoid such tracking or invasion of your privacy is to use an antidetect browser. Marketers can still get enough data to know your preference without pervasive tracking. But antidetect browsers won’t at least share your private information with anyone else out there.