If you have been on the internet and used any of its services, then chances are you have left fingerprints large enough to allow anyone to track your entire online activities.
Gone are the days when surfing the internet used to be a blissful non-threatening activity. Today’s internet users now have to deal with so many threats, including browser fingerprinting. And these threats can be as mild as someone watching all your online activities and as grave as becoming a target for some internet attack.
In this article, we will discuss the major challenges posed by browser fingerprinting and how some solutions such as GoLogin proxy integration can help overcome these challenges.
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Browser fingerprinting is a type of online identification mechanism used by some websites to collect personal information about an internet user. It can also be called device fingerprinting or online fingerprinting and includes special scripts to gather unique information about the device and browser with which you are accessing a website.
The script gives instructions to your browser and proceeds to collect personal information about your device, such as the operating system of your device, the type of browser you are using, your device preset language, your current time zone, software and extensions installed on your device and browser, your device screen resolution and color intensity, and whether or not you are using ad blockers.
This information list can then be stitched together to create a unique identity that could be traced back to you. And because some scripts even go as far as checking for more technical specifications such as device drivers and graphics card, these websites can have enough unique information to confidently and reliably identify you amidst the billions of internet users.
How does browser fingerprinting work?
A typical fingerprinting script looks like any other type of browser script. Scripts are usually written and added to browsers to allow you to browse and render videos and images effortlessly. And with many websites, a fingerprinting script can be added to your browser without your knowledge or consent.
The following are some of the ways browser fingerprinting work:
HTML5 canvas fingerprinting
Perhaps the most sophisticated browser fingerprinting works by having a Canvas gather graphical information about the device. The Canvas is an element included in the HTML5 code used to build and design virtually every website. So when you try to interact with a website, the Canvas is activated to induce your browser to draw some text or image. This way, the element will collect information on your font style and the graphics card, drivers, operating system, and browser type.
The script may not compel your browser to render an image or text; instead, it may try to test how sounds are played on your device. That way, audio fingerprinting can gather information such as your device drivers alongside its sound software and hardware.
How browser fingerprinting can pose a valid threat to web scraping
Now that we know what browser fingerprinting is and how it works let us see how it poses a serious threat to several online activities, including web scraping.
Also, cookies can be deleted to terminate the fingerprinting. But this is not so with browser fingerprinting because, of course, nothing was downloaded.
This makes this tracking method a valid threat to everything we do online. And some of the ways browser fingerprinting can cause a challenge to web scraping are:
IP address blocking
Amongst the many information collected by fingerprinting scripts is your internet protocol (IP) address. And once a website gets ahold of your IP, it becomes easier for them to stop you from performing web scraping by blocking your IP.
Lack of privacy
Fingerprinting scripts do not only collect information about your device and browser; they also gather information on all your online activities. And this can be bad for web scraping as the process, more or less, is supposed to be a private one.
Digital tracking makes it possible for the websites to see and keep track of every data you scrape from their servers.
Solutions to the challenges pose by browser fingerprinting
One of the most effective solutions to digital tracking is applications such as the GoLogin application. The GoLogin app is a browser management application that works on operating systems including Windows, Linux, and Mac. The app can be easily integrated with a proper proxy to configure and change browser fingerprints, manage browser profiles, store, edit, share and synchronise your personal information, amongst other things.
A GoLogin proxy integration is fast and straightforward and considered a proper fit for mitigating the anti-scraping problems caused by browser fingerprinting. Check the Oxylabs’ website to learn more about how to set up proxies with a GoLogin app.
Browser fingerprinting is a technique that websites can use to gather enough information about you to interfere with many of your online activities, including web scraping.
One way you can easily get around this problem and proceed with web scraping is to use an app called GoLogin integrated with an excellent proxy server.