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Can We Protect Against Computers Being Fingerprinted?

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Parts of a fingerprint.

Researchers are working to protect personal computer users against browser fingerprinting.

Credit: flickr/CPOA

Computer browser fingerprints are often unique to an individual user, and can be monitored, tracked, and identified by organizations and hackers. University of Adelaide researchers are working to find new methods of protecting against the fingerprinting of personal computers, and they are giving members of the community a chance to see their own browser fingerprints.

"Fingerprinting on computers is invisible to most people but there are companies out there who are already using these techniques to learn more information about individuals, about their interests and their habits," says University of Adelaide postdoctoral researcher Lachlan Kang.

Although computer users are growing more aware of privacy issues, currently there is little that can be done to counter fingerprinting.

Kang notes fingerprints built up in between the browsing history and personal information can be pooled in the gaps between those websites. "Simply clearing your browsing history won't make any difference to this, because the information is already out there," Kang says.

The researchers want the public's help to better understand which fingerprinting techniques are the most powerful, as this information will help to build defenses against those techniques.

"Eventually, we hope that people will be able to protect themselves from being fingerprinted, or tracked without their consent," Kang says.

From University of Adelaide
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Abstracts Copyright © 2016 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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