While Cookies and other means have been used to track online users for quite a time now. A new tracking mechanism was developed recently in 2014. This mechanism uses the HTML 5 Canvas Element to track visitors, and it is called Canvas Fingerprinting. But since privacy is the most important security aspect these days, you need to make sure that your browser is canvas fingerprinting proof.
We’ve already talked of how to block canvas Fingerprinting in Firefox. In this post, we’ve discussed Canvas Fingerprinting in detail and covered a free Chrome extension ‘Canvas Defender’ that lets you protect your device’s fingerprint.
What is Canvas Fingerprinting
Canvas Fingerprinting is a technique that records your computer’s fingerprint based upon on your graphics hardware. These fingerprints can be shared by websites essentially tracking your usage on the internet. These fingerprints or digital tokens are widely used by advertising companies to feed you personalized advertisements and track your behavior.
While you visit a website with canvas fingerprinting enabled, your browser is instructed to draw a hidden graphics. Now this rendered graphics can contain information about the type of your system, OS, GPU, Graphics Driver. All these details combined with some other information generates your unique fingerprint. Although, the uniqueness is not so good, but when it is combined with other fingerprint methods the desired amount of entropy and uniqueness can be achieved.
Prevent Canvas Fingerprinting on Google Chrome
Using an extension called ‘Canvas Defender’ one can prevent Canvas Fingerprinting on your browser. The thing that is special about this extension is that instead of completely blocking Canvas Fingerprinting it hides your original fingerprint and replaces it with spoof data.
To see this tool in action you can go to, browserleaks.com/canvas and check current uniqueness and signature of your browser. Now install the extension and hit the Canvas Defender icon and click ‘Generate New Noise’. Refresh the page to see the changes in your fingerprint.
It is recommended to generate a new fingerprint from time to time so that your identity is always protected. Also, the extension can notify you whenever a web page tries to get your identity from the Canvas. These notifications can get annoying soon, and there is no option to disable them for now.
Moreover, the tool can work both in normal and incognito mode and can completely guard you against fingerprinting. You can even maintain a whitelist for websites that you want to work normally with your original fingerprint. Also, you can setup a time interval after which the fingerprint will automatically be changed. It has a wide variety of options starting from 5 minutes to a week.
Canvas Defender is a must have Chrome extension. It can silently protect you from Canvas Fingerprinting by generating a false signature. Unlike other fingerprint blocking applications, this extension will not completely block fingerprints on your browser. Blocking fingerprints is another identifier for websites and that you’ve installed some blocking software. So instead of blocking, this extension can hide your identity in a completely safe manner.