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Does it increase your internet security in terms of privacy/tracking/fingerprinting if you are surfing with your web browser in a virtual machine environment (virtual box + VPN) instead of surfing from your normal windows operating system?

Or is a virtual machine not helping you in fingerprinting cases? I just want to understand if you can use a virtual machine as a additional privacy tool and if yes, on what aspects would it have an impact (IP address, virus infections, fingerprinting, etc.)?

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User tracking is typically done at the level of the browser and not the OS. Insofar it will not help to use a browser in a virtual machine, as long as it is always the same browser.

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  • thanks. @Steffen-Ullrich , got you. But multiple users of the same web browser can have same fingerprint correct? Or has every single chrome user in the world a unique fingerprint? Dec 7 '19 at 21:42
  • Some types of fingerprinting are cross-platform, so using a virtual machine in its default configuration will not necessarily help. Examples would include AudioContext fingerprinting and WebGL fingerprinting.
    – forest
    Dec 8 '19 at 2:02
  • @johnsmiththelird: there are lots of questions on this site about fingerprinting and tracking so I don't want to go into much detail. But just fingerprinting of a browser covers typically multiple users, tracking (with cookies, etag or other cached data) though is usually specific for a single user. Dec 8 '19 at 4:35
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Great way to check by yourself is https://browserleaks.com/. Compare it and you will find out.

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    You realize that BrowserLeaks is not an exhaustive test, right?
    – forest
    Dec 9 '19 at 8:27
  • Although this answer is really short, the general advice to test the difference is valid (even if the tests are not perfect).
    – schroeder
    Dec 9 '19 at 9:03
  • @schroeder My main issue with this answer is that this answer won't stand on its own if the link dies.
    – forest
    Dec 9 '19 at 9:05
  • @forest granted, the answer could benefit from a little more fleshing out (like offering some alternatives to the one link)
    – schroeder
    Dec 9 '19 at 9:16
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Browsing from a virtual machine can help against malware, but as stated in other answers it is not significant defense against tracking, especially if you use it to sign in to tracking enabled services like Google or Facebook

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