I am using the Firefox browser on a Linux system and it came to my knowledge that it is possible for sites to take a fingerprint of the user visiting their homepages.

So I actually have four questions regarding the thread:

1) It was written in the article I read that it is even possible for them to learn my computer name, is that true?

2) The passwords I have stored in Firefox, are they also possible for them to get via fingerprinting techniques?

3) I just did a test on panopticlick and realized that my noscript addon seems to prevent a lot of fingerprinting on their site, how accurate is this test and are there more advanced fingerprinting tests on the web or is this really all that can get fingerprinted with modern techniqes?

4) Is there away to check if a site is using fingerprinting on me?

  • 1
    please cite the source of the claims so we have more context
    – schroeder
    Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 21:47
  • 1
    #2 appears to confuse a couple concepts: fingerprinting is not malicious activity but you seem to be worried that it is also possible to obtain secured data - did you mean to co-mingle these ideas?
    – schroeder
    Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 21:48
  • I have read somewhere (seems like the site went offline) that the computername systemtime and more can be also fingerprinted. I will edit number two. Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 2:58
  • you can start the test at ip-check.info (usually for anonymity-tests using Tor, but it shows you some things that can be collected from you while browsing the web...) Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 5:25

2 Answers 2

  1. Browser fingerprinting does not go so far as to reach into the computer name

  2. Fingerprinting does not reach into secured data areas, so your stored passwords are safe from this technique.

  3. panopticlick does not appear to disclose what updates they have made, so it is not possible to determine how accurate it is against the most modern techniques.

4. Most browser fingerprinting techniques are passive, so you won't know it is happening. There ARE some active fingerprinting techniques that you might be able to detect.

  • Thanks for the link, interesting kind of scary does ths canvas method also work with java script disabled? Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 20:57

The "fingerprint" does not actually include any personal or user-specific information; rather, it pretty much just consists of a bunch of technical information about your browser/OS - for example, your browser version number, what types of compression your browser supports, what types of plugins your browser has installed and their version numbers, system fonts installed, etc. etc. Your browser freely provides this information to websites for user experience purposes - for example, so that websites can serve you content in a format that your browser claims to support.

The reason it can be used for tracking is because there are so many variables that it is unlikely that someone else will have a browser configured the exact same way as you, making it essentially unique. By itself, however, the fingerprint does not reveal your computer name or any other personal information (and it certainly does not reveal passwords stored in your password manager!)

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