Reducing Browser Fingerprinting
- Firefox / Iceweasel / Nightly
- Any OS that supports FireFox / Iceweasel / Nightly
What is Browser Fingerprinting?
When a browser visits a website it leaves data behind that can be used to track you or provide details about who you are, an example would be if I were to visit Google they could give me a cookie that gives me a unique ID and they can then track me across their websites (YouTube, etc) and by doing so they can tell what I am viewing and personalise adverts on my Google searches to be more accurate or suggest YouTube videos that I might enjoy.
Now if you have cookies disabled they can still track you via your browser fingerprint, what a site can do is grab your useragent, your headers, your plugin info, screen size and system fonts and identify you, to check how unique you are go to Panopticlick and click "Test Me"
How can it affect me?
Browser fingerprinting can make you traceable and if you are someone like myself who prefers to remain anonymous online just due to the respect for privacy, being easily printed is not so good!
How do I defend against it?
To defend against browser finger printing we need to throw some curve balls against any type of script that is trying to gather our data.
- Install FireFox / Iceweasel / Nightly
- Open up the preferences / options tab
- Navigate to "privacy"
- Select "Tell sites I do not want to be tracked"
- Navigate to "Applications"
- It should display a list of services such as Flash, mailto, Podcast
- Select "Always Ask" OR "Preview in X" X being your respective browser.
- Install Ghostery
- Install Adblock Plus
- Install NoScript
- Open up about:config
- To do this, open up a new tab and type "about:config" into the address bar
- It will give you a confirmation message to make sure it's what you want to do
- There will be a search bar, in that search bar enter "general.useragent.override"
- It should come up blank and that's fine, right click on the blank space
- Select New > String
- A new pop up will appear, enter in "general.useragent.override"
- When it asks you for a variable enter in "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; rv:10.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/10.0"
- Do the same with the following entries
STRING NAME | STRING VARIABLE|general.appname.override | Netscapegeneral.appversion.override || 5.0 (Windows)general.oscpu.override || Windows NT 6.1general.platform.override | Win32general.productSub.override || 20100101general.buildID.override || 0general.useragent.vendor || (Leave Blank!)general.useragent.vendorSub || (Leave Blank!)intl.accept_languages || en-us,en;q=0.5network.http.accept.default || text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8network.http.accept-encoding || gzip, deflate
- Restart FireFox / Iceweasel / Nightly
- Test your fingerprint again on Panopticlick
- It should be much lower than your original score!
- Anything less than 18 bits is good!
Any problems feel free to contact me!