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Web Fingerprinting

When you browse the internet, your device carries a lot of information that can be collected by websites. This data is known as your browser fingerprint, and it helps websites identify you among millions of other users. This data is also used to target online ads and track your browsing habits.

Besides tracking, web fingerprinting can be used for fraud detection and other security purposes. For example, it can be used to catch phishing scammers who use ad-blocking programs or surf incognito mode. It can also help banks investigate suspicious activity by identifying users who are not following normal patterns. This can be especially useful in identifying users who have used multiple devices to access their bank accounts or those who are attempting to hide their identities by using VPNs and other tools.

The main method of collecting fingerprints is to analyze the browser’s attributes. These attributes are sent by the browser to a website in an HTTP header-encoded connection request. These attributes include the machine’s user agent (browser name and version), screen resolution, operating system, location, language, time zone, preferred language settings, ad blocker usage, browser plugins, and other browser properties. These attributes are non-privacy invasions because they do not reveal the browser’s IP address.

Web fingerprinting is typically done through scripts that work silently in the background without your knowledge or consent. Once the fingerprint is created, it can be tracked by websites even if your device or software changes. This is because browser fingerprinting doesn’t use cookies, but rather a unique digital signature.

There are many different ways to generate a fingerprint. For instance, some sites use a canvas fingerprint to identify a visitor by analyzing the pixels in the browser’s image. Other sites use a more sophisticated method that looks at the way a user’s device plays audio. This technique uses the AudioContext API that is built into modern browsers. This method can detect the underlying hardware and software, CPU architecture, and other configuration details of your device.

Several free online tools are available to test your browser’s fingerprinting ability. One is Device Info, which displays a list of all the possible information that can be collected by websites. Other free tools include Hidester, which tests your browser’s fingerprinting and offers a VPN service that can protect you from web surveillance.

The proposed website aims to collect browser fingerprints and share them as an open-source raw dataset in the research industry. Unlike other existing studies or research, the fingerprints collected on this site will be placed in a text file instead of a database. This makes them easier to download and read. The text file format will also ensure that the privacy of users is protected. Aside from this, the collection process of the fingerprints is identical to other existing studies or research.