What is browser fingerprinting

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If you are reading this text for sure you know that websites track your actions and behavior on the internet. From this article, you will find out:

  • What is a browser fingerprint
  • How it differs from cookies
  • What it’s used for
  • How to find out if a website is collecting fingerprints
  • Is it legal to collect fingerprints
  • Who needs to control his digital fingerprint 
  • How to check your browser fingerprint

And most importantly — how to mask your real browser fingerprint. Let’s start with the basics.

What is a browser fingerprint? 🤨

Every website wants to know as much as possible about its visitors. Because user tracking is forbidden, websites try to identify users by using additional parameters and criterions that are not directly related to a person’s identity. 

For example, they analyze information about the users’ device, browser, and connection. The combination of this data is called digital fingerprint. The process of collecting this data is called digital fingerprinting.

What a digital fingerprint consists

A digital fingerprint includes:

  • User agent. This is a browser element that reflects a set of information about the device from which you use the internet. This includes browser and device data, language, etc.
  • IP and provider details,
  • Canvas,
  • Time Zone,
  • Screen Settings,
  • Fonts
  • Extensions used,
  • Cookies,
  • etc.

There are more than 50 parameters in total.

It’s interesting, that separately, this data won’t help identify the user.  For example, millions of people around the world use an Asus laptop and Chrome browser. But a combination of more than 50 different parameters helps form a unique trace.

☝️The digital fingerprint itself looks like a set of numbers and letters: 85bd8e90ce6e9b5dd17de985891324ec

Meanwhile, each resource decides for itself how much and what parameters it analyzes to create your browser’s digital fingerprint.

What’s the difference between browser fingerprints and cookies?

Cookies are a special text file that stores a set of data about websites, logins, passwords, and some information about the settings of the user’s device. This file is stored on the user’s computer and is sent to servers each time the user tries to access a particular website. 

Cookies help speed up access to the websites:

  • On the user side: it is not necessary to re-enter the login and password to register on the website: they are already placed in cookies,
  • On the side of the sites: the server sees that the user is not the first time you visit a site, so part of the information is loaded from what he has already seen.

Browser fingerprints, on the other hand, include a much larger data set and solve much more tasks for the sites. What’s more, unlike fingerprints, the process of collecting cookies is regulated by law: sites must ask the user’s permission before collecting cookies. If a user deletes cookies, the site must repeatedly ask for permission to collect that data.

What fingerprinting is used for 🤓

Websites collect digital fingerprints from their visitors in order to:

  • Protect users from fraud. For example, if the security system sees that a user is visiting the site from an unfamiliar location or device, it may suspect that the account has been compromised. As a result, the system can block the account until the user answers whether it was him or another person. 
  • Identify fake users. For example, if an affiliate doesn’t mask his real digital fingerprint and tries to create many Facebook accounts from the same device and browser at once, at some point the social network will stop creating them.  
  • Show ads. By looking at data from your fingerprint: your location, language, pages posted, etc., the site can pass that data on to other sites or use it itself to set up ads. At the same time, this information can be used to your detriment. For example, if the marketplace sees that you’re visiting the website from an expensive device or from a luxury resort, it can automatically raise the price just for you. 

How to find out if the website is capturing your browser fingerprint

You will not see a direct notification from the site that a particular browser is collecting fingerprints. Fingerprints are collected by all major sites, advertising platforms, search engines, and social networks.

There aren’t many programs on the market yet that can recognize which website is collecting digital fingerprints. For example, there is a special extension called FPMON. Once installed, the extension will alert you when and what data a particular site is collecting. 

Is it legal to collect digital fingerprint data

Unlike cookies, which cannot be collected without user’s agreement, there are no such requirements for digital fingerprints yet. For this reason, the very fact of collecting fingerprints has not yet been regulated in any way. At least, in most countries, such as Russia.

Who needs to change their fingerprint

As a rule, in masking digital fingerprint are interested:

  • Affiliates, marketers, and other digital professionals, who use many accounts at once,
  • All those who work with cryptocurrencies, betting, and other financial areas,
  • Regular users who want to protect their data online. 

How to change your digital fingerprint ⚡️

The best way to mask your fingerprint depends on your objectives. 


To do this, you need to replace or disable most of the data that forms digital fingerprint. For example:

  • Delete cookies before starting a new session.
  • Disable Flash and JavaScript. Then sites will not be able to analyze some of your device’s data, such as fonts.
  • Disable Canvas. To do this, you can use various programs, such as CanvasBlocker.
  • Change the time zone and language.

The advantage of this method is that it is free and does not require any software. However, you will have to regularly update the data. Moreover, since the sites are constantly increasing the amount of data they analyze about users, there is a high probability that the user will not take into account all the vulnerabilities = the websites will still be able to detect him.

🔺Web extensions 

Since the problem of user tracking isn’t new, there are already products on the market that help to mask the real browser fingerprint.

For example, Avast Antitrack software promises to get rid of all trackers and hide the digital fingerprint for just 1,250₽/year. Disconnect.me also promises complete protection against Internet surveillance. 

Mozilla Firefox, has released an updated version of its browser, which, according to the developers’ assurances, includes protection from data collection. 

🔺VPNs and proxy servers

These two tools allow you to mask your connection and IP information. As a rule, this is enough to hide your data and visit websites, that are banned in a certain territory. But it won’t hide your browser data. 

As a result, proxies and VPNs alone are usually not enough for complicated tasks like affiliate marketing and cryptocurrency operations. 

🔺Anti-detect browsers

These are special programs that allow you to mask your real digital fingerprint. You can set up your own fingerprint, or get a ready-made one from an anti-detect.

The main advantage of anti-detect browsers is that they completely solve the problem of replacing the fingerprint. All top anti-detect browsers do an excellent job of replacing your digital fingerprint, so users are more likely to look at cost, the usability of the interface, and additional functions. 

How to check your digital  fingerprint and its uniqueness 🔍

To evaluate how well you have masked your real digital fingerprint, use special scanners. They analyze information about your browser and connection and then show the result. Below, we have collected examples of such programs.


Whoer scanning

Find out your IP address, and general connection info. 


Panopticlick scanning

The program shows how secure your browser is against trackers and fingerprinting. To test it, click “Test your browser”, and the website will give you the result within a minute:

For example, when logging in from the usual unprotected Chrome, the system gave this result:

Panopticlick scanning result

Canvas Fingerprinting

Canvas Fingerprinting

On the home page of the site, the system automatically gives the result and shows how unique are your Canvas, User-agent, Fingerprinting in general, etc.

Am I Unique?

Am I UniqueThe service analyzes how unique your fingerprint is based on 5 main criteria: operating system, browser type and version, time zone, and language. 

When logging in with regular and unsafe Chrome, it looks like this:Am I Unique scanning result


Pixelscan scanning result

A popular digital fingerprint scanner. It is often used to test anti-detect browsers. If you want to use an anti-detect browser to mask your digital fingerprint, note that Dolphin{anty} anti-detect browser has a completely free plan for 10 browser profiles 🔥.