I have installed an app on Android and my account got shadowbanned. I sniffed out the traffic with fiddler and see they use a analytics service that assigns your device a fingerprint.

I tried the web version on Chrome for Android with a different email address etc and my account got shadowbanned immediately too. Can a mobile web app come up with an identical fingerprint to the native app that they are able to identify the device as being identical?

  • Which app is that? – defalt Feb 2 '19 at 17:38
  • @defalt the app is Tinder – Lee Feb 2 '19 at 18:14

Potentially, yes.

Usually a mobile OS comes with a browser engine, that is used to both power actual browsers, as well as for running native apps built with web technology. So it is possible that the app you installed and Chrome was running the same browser engine that produces the same fingerprint.

This is a bit speculative though. I don't know for sure if this would work in practice, or if this is what actually happened to you. Might just as well have been your IP that got you blocked.

  • The native WebView theory wouldn't hold up though if I changed browser to say Firefox though? Also, I cleared off all native apps etc and rebooted my router to get a new ip (I double checked it was different) – Lee Feb 2 '19 at 18:16
  • @Lee Security by obscurity. One can also use GeckoView. – v6ak Feb 2 '19 at 21:15
  • @Lee It is getting more common that the OS forces all browsers to use their rendering engine. So I am not sure e.g. Firefox on a mobile OS will always be Firefox under the hood. I don't remember if this applies to Android though. – Anders Feb 3 '19 at 0:15
  • Have you tried FF or Opera with same results? – Alex Cohn Feb 3 '19 at 8:39

The browser itself leaves a fingerprint that can be quite unique as there's many parameters that can vary. It's easier to demonstrate than explain, and you might get surprised. Try for example testing your browser on

  • Am I Unique? My results:

    However, your full fingerprint is unique among the 977190 collected so far. Want to know why?

  • Browserprint.info My results:

    Your browser fingerprint appears to be unique among the 60,717 tested so far.

    Currently, we estimate that your browser has a fingerprint that conveys 15.89 bits of identifying information.

The detailed report on both pages shows what characteristics could be compared for browser fingerprinting.

  • 1
    This is very interesting, but this could be bypassed by changing browsers to get a new fingerprintt? How would they link a browser fingerprint up to a native app fingerprint though (ignoring the web view theory above) to identify you as the same user? – Lee Feb 2 '19 at 18:18
  • Is it really a full App? Many Android Apps are just retrieving all the content from a web site using the browser. – Esa Jokinen Feb 2 '19 at 18:36
  • That is a good point, but using a different browser would probably throw a spanner in the works – Lee Feb 2 '19 at 19:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.