Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Web Browsers Leave 'Fingerprints' Behind as You Surf the Net

Filed under
Software
Security
Web

New research by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has found that an overwhelming majority of web browsers have unique signatures -- creating identifiable "fingerprints" that could be used to track you as you surf the Internet.

The findings were the result of an experiment EFF conducted with volunteers who visited http://panopticlick.eff.org/. The website anonymously logged the configuration and version information from each participant's operating system, browser, and browser plug-ins -- information that websites routinely access each time you visit -- and compared that information to a database of configurations collected from almost a million other visitors. EFF found that 84% of the configuration combinations were unique and identifiable, creating unique and identifiable browser "fingerprints." Browsers with Adobe Flash or Java plug-ins installed were 94% unique and trackable.

"We took measures to keep participants in our experiment anonymous, but most sites don't do that," said EFF Senior Staff Technologist Peter Eckersley.

rest here




More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

Linux Development and LinuxCon

  • Linus Torvalds says GPL was defining factor in Linux's success
    Linus Torvalds and Dirk Hohndel, vice president and chief of open source at VMware, discussed the role that GNU GPL played in the success of Linux during a keynote conversation this week at LinuxCon NA in Toronto. Hohndel, who has been involved with the kernel for a very long time, said that during the past 25 years there have been many challenges, and one of the biggest challenges was the possibility of fragmentation. "How do we keep one single kernel?" he asked. "I used to be worried about fragmentation, and I used to think that it was inevitable at some point," said Torvalds. “Everyone was looking at the history of Linux and comparing it with UNIX. People would say that it’s going to fail because it's going to fragment. That's what happened before, so why even bother?" What made the difference was the license. "FSF [Free Software Foundation] and I don't have a loving relationship, but I love GPL v2," said Torvalds. "I really think the license has been one of the defining factors in the success of Linux because it enforced that you have to give back, which meant that the fragmentation has never been something that has been viable from a technical standpoint."
  • Making Use Of eBPF In The Mainline Linux Kernel
    One of the exciting innovations within the Linux kernel in the past few years has been extending the Berkeley Packet Filter (BPF) to become a more generalized in-kernel virtual machine. The eBPF work with recent versions of the Linux kernel allow it to be used by more than just networking so that these programs can be used for tracing, security, and more.
  • Linux turns 25 with a brilliant history
    Chances are, you use it every day. Linux runs every Android phone and tablet on Earth. And even if you’re on an iPhone or a Mac or a Windows machine, Linux is working behind the scenes, across the Internet, serving up most of the webpages you view and powering most of the apps you use. Facebook, Google, Pinterest, Wikipedia—it’s all running on Linux. Now, Linux is finding its way onto televisions, thermostats, and even cars. As software creeps into practically every aspect of our lives, so does the OS designed by Linus Torvalds.
  • Intel Lost Another Open-Source Driver Developer To Google Earlier This Summer
    There was another long-time Intel open-source Linux graphics driver developer that left the company earlier this summer and is now working at Google on the Chrome/Chromium OS graphics stack. Among the notable departures in the past few months from Intel's Open-Source Technology Center were Jesse Barnes, Wayland-founder Kristian Høgsberg, and Dirk Hohndel and apparently others that went under the radar or outside of our area of focus. Another graphics driver developer no longer at Intel is Chad Versace.
  • OpenGL ES 3.1 For Haswell Lands With Intel's Mesa Driver