The Rise of Browser Fingerprinting

Marketing companies have come up with may clever ways to track our travels around the web, hoping to garner as much information about us as they can. At the same time, privacy-conscious organizations have given us tools to maintain our anonymity by countering these tracking technologies. It’s the usual arms race – one that privacy advocates were mostly winning, with VPN’s, blocking third party cookies, and privacy-enhancing browser plugins. But now we’re faced with the nuclear option: browser fingerprinting. Our browsers cough up dozens of detailed bits of information about us: OS type and version, browser type and version, fonts and plugins installed, monitor resolution, and much more. When taken together, this information creates a fingerprint of our system – one that is often very unique. Preventing this sort of fingerprinting is extremely difficult, making most of the above privacy-enhancing techniques useless. I’ll tell you how it works and what you can do to mitigate this.

In other news: Facebook sues NSO Group for using WhatsApp to track people; Google buys FitBit (and all its data); Apple’s privacy website is revamped; Microsoft Office is building in much-needed protections against infected files; and researchers figure out how to hack Siri, Alexa and Google Home from afar using lasers.