DiverSE Coffee [Alejandro Gomez]: Hiding in the Crowd: an Analysis of the Effectiveness of Browser Fingerprinting at Large Scale

Abstract

We are pleased to have Alejandro Gomez as a speaker for our next DiverSE Coffee,entitled Hiding in the Crowd: an Analysis of the Effectiveness of BrowserFingerprinting at Large Scale.In his latest work, also the topic of hispresentation, Alejandro uncovers some insights about the effectiveness ofbrowser fingerprinting and the fragileness of non-unique fingerprints.He alsowarns about the evolution trend of current web technologies and its impact onbrowser fingerprinting.Enters Alejandro: Browser fingerprinting is a statelesstechnique, which consists in collecting a wide range of data about a devicethrough browser APIs. Past studies have demonstrated that modern devices presentso much diversity that fingerprints can be exploited to identify and track usersonline. With this work, we want to evaluate if browser fingerprinting is stilleffective at uniquely identifying a large group of users when analyzing millionsof fingerprints over a few months. We analyze 2,067,942 browser fingerprintscollected from one of the top 15 French websites. The observations made on thisnovel dataset shed a new light on the ever-growing browser fingerprintingdomain. The key insight is that the percentage of unique fingerprints in thisdataset is much lower than what was reported in the past: only 33.6% offingerprints are unique by opposition to over 80% in previous studies. We showthat non-unique fingerprints tend to be fragile. If some features of thefingerprint change, it is very probable that the fingerprint will become unique.We also confirm that the current evolution of web technologies is benefitingusers’ privacy significantly as the removal of plugins brings down substantivelythe rate of unique desktop machines.This work will be presented at the 2018 WebConference, in April.Until then, you must come see his presentation. It is heldin roomMarkov, Thursday,April 5, at1 p.m.

Date
Event
DiverSE coffee
Location
Rennes, France
We are pleased to have Alejandro Gomez as a speaker for our next DiverSE Coffee, entitled "Hiding in the Crowd: an Analysis of the Effectiveness of Browser Fingerprinting at Large Scale".
 
In his latest work, also the topic of his presentation, Alejandro uncovers some insights about the effectiveness of browser fingerprinting and the fragileness of non-unique fingerprints.
He also warns about the evolution trend of current web technologies and its impact on browser fingerprinting.
 
Enters Alejandro: "Browser fingerprinting is a stateless technique, which consists in collecting a wide range of data about a device through browser APIs. Past studies have demonstrated that modern devices present so much diversity that fingerprints can be exploited to identify and track users online. With this work, we want to evaluate if browser fingerprinting is still effective at uniquely identifying a large group of users when analyzing millions of fingerprints over a few months. We analyze 2,067,942 browser fingerprints collected from one of the top 15 French websites. The observations made on this novel dataset shed a new light on the ever-growing browser fingerprinting domain. The key insight is that the percentage of unique fingerprints in this dataset is much lower than what was reported in the past: only 33.6% of fingerprints are unique by opposition to over 80% in previous studies. We show that non-unique fingerprints tend to be fragile. If some features of the fingerprint change, it is very probable that the fingerprint will become unique. We also confirm that the current evolution of web technologies is benefiting users’ privacy significantly as the removal of plugins brings down substantively the rate of unique desktop machines."
This work will be presented at the 2018 Web Conference, in April.
Until then, you must come see his presentation. It is held in room Markov, Thursday, April 5, at 1 p.m.