What is a Device Fingerprint?

What is Device Fingerprint
Written by: Per-Erik Eriksson

Device fingerprinting was initially introduced in good faith — to identify suspicious behavior on individual gadgets and prevent fraud or other online threats. Unfortunately, the term became a synonym for everything except privacy and security over the years. Thanks to this online fingerprint unique to every person with internet access, third parties can quickly gather information about anyone on the planet.

Although this system can be helpful, it’s also somewhat scary, and many people want to get around it. In this article, we’ll tell you whether it is possible to prevent the creation of your device fingerprint and how a VPN can help you in this regard.

What Is a Device Fingerprint?

Your device fingerprint includes every detail about the gadget you’re using, such as its operating system, timezone, screen resolution, browser version, plug-ins, installed fonts, and other specifications. The combination of all these details sets you apart from other users, acting as a unique digital fingerprint.

Additionally, your online habits and behaviors add to the picture and make your device fingerprint more authentic. Device fingerprinting is the collection of information about the sites you visit, products or services you look up, news you read, movies you stream, the music you listen to, and all the other actions you take on the web. In other words, everything you do online leaves a trace and makes it easy for various third parties to profile you.

Device Fingerprinting Prevention — Is It Possible?

Once people discovered the ugly truth about device fingerprinting, they started coming up with various techniques to stop or slow down the process. The first idea everyone thinks of includes deleting browser cookies regularly. However, the technology behind device fingerprints uses JavaScript to collect data and track your online activity. It means that you can’t prevent this process even if you delete or disable cookies in your browser.

Some people also thought device fingerprinting only worked if a person was always using the same browser. This was true for a while, and users started switching browsers to conceal their activity and sabotage tracking. Sadly, this practice is no longer applicable due to the new cross-browser fingerprinting method, which can collect data from multiple browsers with even better accuracy.

Top Tips for Protecting Online Privacy

Despite your best efforts, it’s impossible to stop device fingerprinting. Nevertheless, a few things may help you confuse the algorithm and slip under the radar. Here’s what you can do:

  • Use a VPN — If you want to stay incognito online, we recommend you use a VPN (virtual private network). The purpose of VPN services is to hide your original IP address and prevent third parties from tracking you down and adding data to your device fingerprint.
  • Use incognito mode for browsing — Switch to the incognito mode when surfing the net. Although your browser properties will remain visible, you’ll keep your internet search as private as possible. Also, make it a habit to clear cookies at least once a day.
  • Try to blend in — As your device fingerprint makes you stand out from the crowd, looking average on the internet can be a plus. You’ll achieve this by using the most popular browser with no plug-ins and keeping it up to date to blend in as much as possible.
  • Don’t use Flash or JavaScript — While your user experience on the web may become frustrating without Flash and JavaScript, disabling them is a surefire way to fool the system and prevent device fingerprinting.


What information does my device fingerprint contain?

Each device’s fingerprint contains information about its user’s timezone, operating system, browser version, screen resolution, plug-ins, installed fonts, and other tech specifications. It also includes details about your online activity, like visited sites, streamed movies, and more.

Can a VPN prevent device fingerprinting?

A VPN can hide your IP address and create a secure channel for your internet browsing. This way, your device fingerprint can get confused since the system will show unexpected details, like a different timezone.

How to choose the right VPN for fighting device fingerprinting?

Your VPN choice should depend on your personal preferences, but choosing a reputable service like those featured on our page is always wise.

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