What is device fingerprinting and how does it work?

We are all familiar with the technique of collecting information about a user or detecting a specific user online using cookies and browser sessions on the Internet. But the only reliable way to detect users on the Internet is not just browser cookies. Leading tech companies use another technology more reliable than browser cookies, called device fingerprinting, to collect user data or detect fraudulent activity.

Browser cookies are primarily used to show targeted ads to users on the Internet and to remember future users who are logged in to a website. But the main function of device fingerprinting is to detect and prevent any invalid activity or fraudulent activity done by the users or any unethical act done by the users. That’s why ad network companies use this technology the most. Let’s get some idea about device fingerprinting today!

What is fingerprinting device?

Although the name sounds quite troublesome, it is not a very complex technology. Suppose a detective in a crime scene collects the fingerprints left by the accused, in the case of online fraud, such fingerprints are device fingerprints. After performing a fraudulent activity online, it is detected using the device using the device’s fingerprint.

When you visit a website, you only know the backend of the website but not your browser cookies and your public IP address. Just by visiting the website, the website gets to know a lot more information about you or your device, which you never thought possible. From your public IP address to your ISP name, your device name, your operating system, your browser history (optional), device type, your estimated close location and many more information that can be collected together with the website. The backend can create a unique identification document for your device, called a fingerprint for that device.

How does device fingerprinting work?

By now you must already have an idea of ​​how the device fingerprint can work. If the device that you used to visit a website is saved in your database with the fingerprint of your device, then if you visit that website for the second time, there will be no problem to detect the website that it is you. And for this, the website does not need to take access to any cookies in your browser. Because, you can change a lot of things on your device if you want. But you never know exactly what information the backend of the website has created using your fingerprint. So it will not be easy for you to change the fingerprint of your device 1008.

However, when a website takes a fingerprint of the user, it is mostly a browser fingerprint. When you install and use an app on desktop or mobile, that app can also send some information about your device to the server, such as your device’s IMEI number, your time zone, your GPS info, your IP address and MAC address. It is possible to create a unique fingerprint of the device.

And if you want to do an online fraud activity, you must be careful about cookies, browser sessions, IP addresses. So it may not be possible to catch you if you rely only on browser cookies and IP addresses. This is why device fingerprinting is the most reliable technique for detecting online fraud. Because, in this case, it is not impossible to cheat, but it will be quite difficult.

device fingerpriting article

The works that are used

Hope you got a good idea of ​​how the device fingerprint works. If you still don’t understand what device fingerprinting might be needed for, then let’s give two examples.

You must have heard the name Google AdSense. Ads are also served on our website through Google AdSense. Those who have worked at Google AdSense know that Google has some strict rules regarding ad clicks. If invalid ads are clicked on your website, you will no longer be able to work with Google AdSense. But how does Google know which ad click was intentional or invalid? This is where device fingerprinting is used. No matter how hard a user tries to hide himself, the device detects Google through fingerprint to see how many times an ad has been clicked.

Now look at another use case. Suppose you see an ad for an e-commerce website, Daraj’s product on Facebook, click on the ad and visit the page of that product on the Daraj website. But due to the change of mind, you did not buy the product in the end. But the next day you went straight to the door and bought the product. Even if you did not purchase the product directly from the ad on Facebook, Facebook has shown you that the product is available at the door. So the credit here belongs to Facebook.

Now how will Facebook claim the amount of money that it is supposed to get from Facebook Daraj for this purchase? This is where device fingerprinting is used again. Since Facebook has the fingerprint of your device, Facebook can easily prove that the ad for the same product that you purchased today, the same product you saw and clicked on Facebook yesterday. Because, most likely Facebook and Daraj, both have fingerprints on your device.

Again, you may have noticed that the free trial subscription that Netflix currently offers for 1 month, after using this free subscription on one device, no matter how many new Netflix accounts you create, you will never be able to use the free trial on the same device again. . Device fingerprinting technology is also being used here.


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