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How to identify a user’s browser and device?

How to identify a user’s browser and device?

Cybercrime is on the rise. We can see examples of it on a daily basis and hardly anyone hasn’t been impacted by it at one point or another. Just think back on obvious emails that find their way to your spam folder that nobody takes seriously. But there are the ones that look legitimate enough that your spam filter doesn’t recognize them and they end up in your inbox, which can leave you wondering should you respond to that email or click that link they ask you to open. How often did it happen to you? Truth is that cybercrime can impact everyone because cybercriminals do not care if you are rich or poor, they can find profit everywhere.

The threat of cybercrime gets even higher when it comes to the businesses. According to the research World Economic Forum conducted in 2019, cyber-attacks and data breaches are the fourth and fifth most consequential risks facing the business world today. This is why every business or organization needs to start taking proactive steps in the area of cybersecurity in order to protect themselves from any future threats.

One of the inevitable cyber security tools that every business should implement is called device fingerprinting. It gives you an opportunity to prevent cyber attacks before they can cause any significant damage and help protect your business by identifying a user’s browser and device.

What is device fingerprinting and how can it help my business?

Device fingerprinting is a cybersecurity tool that gives you an unique opportunity to confirm the identity of your user based on their device and stop various cyber attacks like an identity theft, account takeover and much more. By using device fingerprinting you will be able to identify a device by combining all of its software and hardware information. There are a number of different variables and specifications that can be collected and combined into a fingerprint like an Operating System (OS), battery information, HTTP request headers, VPN and browser information, even its time zone and language settings. Collecting all of these various elements creates too many variables to make it possible for different devices to have the same 

fingerprint. For example, there might be some users that have the same time zone and language setting, but they will have different operating systems or browser information which means those users will have different device fingerprints. As all of the lines on your finger make your fingerprint unique, that is how all the data from your device makes your device fingerprinting unique. 

By identifying your user through their device fingerprint you will be able to recognize when there are some red flags like when something changes with the variables you use and react on time. For example, when someone is trying to access an user account but their operating system is different or even their time zone, the system will create an alert allowing you to decide on the next step like blocking the user or implementing additional levels of verification. This can stop the cyber attack before it even happens as it helps you confirm if the user is legitimate or a fraudster. 

How device fingerprinting works in practice?

You can think about it like trying to find a certain car in a big parking lot. First you need to know all the details about the car you are trying to find because if the only indication you have is a brand you will find hundreds of possibilities. But if you know that you are trying to find a red Renault Captur with a white roof, personalized name licence plates and My little Pony bumper sticker above the left side tire, you will have better chances in identifying that car as only one will match that description.

This is how all the information collected from your device creates a unique way to identify a user.  And in the same way it is easy to notice a change in the user’s fingerprint as it would be if someone leads you to a red Renault Captur with a black roof or with a Paw Patrol bumper sticker. 

Various big companies like Google, Amazon, Coinbase, Microsoft and many more are already using the device fingerprinting in order to protect their business and the customer from growing threat of cyber attacks. Every business that wants to stay safe should follow in their footsteps and take a proactive approach to cybersecurity. 

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