Your Digital Fingerprint
We are sure that by now you have heard the phrase “Carbon Footprint”. The idea behind digital fingerprinting is very similar. Anything you do, see or visit on the Internet leaves behind a “Digital Fingerprint” that is identifiable.
Generally, organizations use the information gathered from your computer, via your fingerprint, for legitimate purposes. For example they may assess statistics based on traffic flow or sites viewed from a variety of browsers for marketing reasons.
Every computer has a digital fingerprint unique to its system. The fingerprint is geared more toward your overall search “personality”.
For instance, once you open a website that has advertisements located somewhere on it, more than likely the advertisements or pop ups have been geared towards your browsing habits.
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has provided a website called Panopticlick. The site identifies the uniqueness of a browser by looking at the configuration and version information of the user’s operating system, browser, and browser plug-ins.
The site also reveals what you have in common with other systems. The more configurations that you have on your computer similar to someone else’s, the harder it is for someone to identify your computer.
Awareness is key when it comes to digital fingerprinting
Legitimate advertisers and websites generally don’t want to access your computer directly. They can only access your fingerprint to improve your browsing experience and for statistical and marketing purposes. However, some legitimate websites have been exploited by malicious third parties by aiming to use your digital fingerprint to either gain access to your system or to infect it with malware. Use caution when browsing and be aware if …
… you click on something and it redirects you to another page.
… a pop up asks you to download or install something that you did not request
It is virtually impossible to picture our busy lives without the convenience of everything we need to do such as shopping, banking, conducting business etc. at our fingertips. The few moments it takes to visit a registry to purchase a wedding present or to pay the bills online certainly beats time wasted driving to the store or to the bank! If only we could drop the children off for soccer practice using the Internet! It is understandable that we want to make better use of our time using the conveniences available to us in our modern times. But do inform yourself further about Digital Fingerprinting and how it affects you. For more information please visit the Electronic Frontier Foundation via google.