Fraudsters devise new tactics to get your money all the time. But the security tech keeps evolving as well. Device fingerprinting is one of the newest anti-fraud know-hows.
Finger on the Trigger
Fingerprinting protection doesn’t really have anything to do with the fingerprint authentication on your gadget. But it’s based on a similar principle, sort of.
As you know, it’s super easy to track down a person when you have their fingerprints. This is because every person has unique friction ridges that form the contour of a fingerprint — it’s like a license plate given to us by nature.
Device fingerprinting also allows tracking down a person. Even if you don’t know their real name, occupation, age, life aspirations, and so on. But you don’t need all this to get their psychological portrait and study their online behavior.
Here’s how device fingerprinting works:
Collecting the data
First, you integrate a special framework that collects info on which device a person uses when they visit your company’s website.
- The browser in use.
- Operating system.
- HTML 5 canvas properties.
- Apps and plugins installed.
- Time zone and geography.
- Technical characteristics: CPU, screen resolution, and so on.
Knowing all this, you can potentially capture someone’s online image and use it later to identify the same person.
For instance, it can be a major red flag if a visitor uses a web browser like Tor — this utility provides anonymity online, which may be a bit suspicious if you run a law-abiding, legit business like a food delivery service.
Getting the picture
Now, when the AI has all the info in its hands, it’s time to make a pencil sketch of your visitor. Even if they try too hard to stay masked, the system will know about their:
- Screen. Brightness, preferred fonts, background colors on the screen — HTML5 reveals all of this. It’s like identifying someone by the clothes they are wearing.
- OS. Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows, Linux, or even such a rare beast as KaiOS… Now we know what platform a visitor sticks to.
- WebGL. This thingy is responsible for a gadget’s graphics. Thanks to it, we know which GPU — a chip, which puts video games to life — it has under the hood.
- Audio. The algorithm will even know which audio components a gadget has: compressors, and so on.
Even though a visitor attempts to stay fully masked, the system has got its eye on him nevertheless.
Okay, the system has amassed all this data, what’s next? It’s time to put an identification tag on the visitor: an ID coupled with a person’s IP address. From now on, the framework will loosely follow your visitor, analyzing their behavior.
Alas, the device fingerprinting has already been demonized by the media. No wonder; nobody likes it when someone’s prying on their private biz.
At first, this know-how was employed by marketers of all sorts. This data helped them understand better what people wanted to spend their money on.
But the good news is that your business can also benefit from it. And we are talking about fraud prevention, of course. Let’s see what it can do for you.
How Can It Help Your Company?
Getting the device fingerprint allows the system to understand who a given person is. And you won’t even need any real-life, sensitive data to learn more about them: no names, addresses, or phone numbers.
So, on one hand, you’re not really violating anybody’s privacy, and on the other, you can detect suspicious behavior and take measures promptly.
Here are a few things it can do for you:
- Keeping a close eye. Fraudsters and scammers sometimes prefer using public Wi-Fi to do their deeds. They believe it allows them to “mix with a crowd” of other people who access the hotspot. In reality, device fingerprinting won’t let them stay disguised even if there are a hundred requests coming from the same IP.
- Strict authorization. As we’ve said, fingerprinting helps AI to detect abnormal behavior — it usually happens when an account is hijacked, a credit card is stolen, and so on.
- Alert. If a certain visitor does weird stuff and obviously tries to stay unnoticed, the alarm will be raised. As a result, the fraudster will be blocked before they do any serious harm to your venture.
In the long run, you can fully shield your company from various types of ecommerce fraud: false chargebacks, friendly fraud, triangulation, account takeover, and other threats.
Cyber-criminals are coming up with ways to fool the system more and more. They discovered a trick, which allows them to feed the AI snippets of false code, leaving a false fingerprint.
There’s a whole legit browser dubbed “Mimic” — it’s aimed at protecting the privacy and knows how to simulate various fingerprints, so the system will be tricked even more. They utilize know-how called “canvas poisoning”, which works like a smokescreen for a certain device.
Finally, impostors can even employ a bulky virtual machine. With tech mumbo-jumbo aside, this machine can literally change everything on a device: from fonts to the entire operating system. As a result, a gadget used for crime becomes a chameleon.
Specialists to the Rescue
But don’t panic. If it’s an arms race, the high-level experts are always one step ahead. And luckily, they are on your side.
By employing complex measures together with the device fingerprinting, they can assure that:
- Your company’s valuable data won’t be leaked.
- Bot invasions or network attacks will be fended off.
- Your clientele’s sensitive info will be tightly secured.
- Credit card fraud, false chargebacks, or fraudulent traffic won’t ruin your brand’s reputation.
With this kind of support at your disposal, you will know who your clients are. Your revenue won’t be undermined by unfair, life-draining chargebacks. And your reputation will remain spotless.
Fingerprinting = Winning
A danger foreseen is half-avoided. Try this new know-how and separate your loyal, honest customers from shady and unscrupulous weeds.
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