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Device Fingerprint: What it is and How Does it Work?

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Today, most people live two parallel lives: the presence in our physical world and existence in the digital plane, on the internet. The connection between the web and reality is closer than ever – information technologies overhaul our traditional means of communication by automating monotonous tasks and connecting people around the world in a matter of seconds.

While the internet is a human invention, the digital world does not abide by the natural rules of societal relationships. To enjoy convenient systems and information storage capabilities, we lose the right to privacy on the internet. Every decision, every comment, even internal processes of devices that we use to access the web, are being tracked and monitored.

Digital footprints make our actions permanent. Real-life communication is much more natural in the sense that anyone can make mistakes, and even the memories of bad decisions eventually leave the minds of people. On the internet, the shame over a mistake can last for years and even decades.

To keep it brief, no one is private on the internet, therefore every decision we make has to be thoroughly calculated. However, the level of tracking is far greater than most users realize. While it is clear how posts and comments on social media networks remain in their database, we also have to pay attention to device fingerprints.

Installed software, visited websites, and even your choice of a digital device and its internal processes – every action on the web leaves its mark. In this article, we want to introduce our readers to the concept of device fingerprints and how businesses that track them can use them for marketing purposes.

We will discuss the information contained in device fingerprints, as well as a few ways (or tools) to help us minimize device fingerprints. Don’t get confused with browser fingerprinting, it’s completely different than device fingerprinting.

Once we understand the significance of exposed data, we can apply datacenter proxies to minimize vulnerability. When combined with user agent switchers and other privacy tools, datacenter proxies will help us significantly reduce device fingerprints.

Alright, so let’s see what kind of information the device fingerprints reveal to the websites you browse or accounts you create on several websites or apps.

What Information do Device Fingerprints Contain?

Device fingerprints contain elements of private information that are revealed to a recipient server. By visiting a website, we reveal our user agent and an IP address to the server. This information is located in an HTTP request when data packets travel to their destination. With a user-agent, web server owners see the version of a browser and an operating system used by the visitor.

The user agent alone can say whether you have an expensive Mac or a small-screened tablet. Knowing this helps website owners create multiple iterations of their web page to make it adaptable to all systems. Marketers can utilize this information to change ad placement or even offer digital device upgrades.

The IP address is a sensitive element of private information: if it gets into the hands of hackers and cybercriminals, they can attempt to break into your private network or send waves of connection requests to crash your internet connection.

IP also exposes the user’s approximate location. Last, but not least, website cookies. HTTP cookies collect information about our browsing habits and preferences. Marketers can use this information to present relevant ads.

Why Device Fingerprints are Useful for Marketing?

The information in device fingerprints has valuable applications in marketing. By tracking users’ approximate location, companies can determine the average income of inhabitants of the region.

The differences in earnings and location carry a lot of information: greater buying power shows greater interest in luxury products, and different regions vary in product supply and demand. The result of device fingerprint analysis can be personalized ads for products that are more likely to interest the targeted consumer.

How Can You Minimize Device Fingerprinting?

Because device fingerprints give up a lot of private information, internet users should be able to opt out of sharing sensitive data. Thankfully, we have tools that help us reduce exposure.

User-agent switchers can change the information contained in the user agent but choose wisely – selecting old versions of browsers and operating systems that are not compatible with visited websites can mess up their functionality. You can easily find a user-agent switcher extension for most popular browsers and keep the information about your browser and operating system private.

As for IP addresses, we recommend using proxy servers to conceal your network identity. You can use residential proxies that use addresses from real devices to ensure greater privacy and anonymity, but they can slow down your internet connection.

Datacenter proxies are a cheaper option because they are easier to recognize, but their IPs come from data centers, which ensures a lesser internet speed loss. For a casual browsing experience, use datacenter proxies, but for business tasks that handle sensitive data, invest in residential proxy servers from a legitimate provider.

While device fingerprints offer a lot of information, internet users should have an easier time controlling the exposure without the necessity of external tools. Even if collected information feels irreplaceable, a smart marketer can get enough insights without pervasive tracking.

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Harshil Patel
Harshil Patel

Harshil is a tech enthusiast with the zeal of changing the way people look at technology. He is often found testing out new gadgets when he's free!

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