Your Internet browser may be betraying a lot of personal information without you even knowing it. Even though you may have a VPN hooked up, your Internet browser itself may provide websites with a lot of information about you that you’re not even aware of. This problem has been known for a while; one of the first publications was released by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in May of 2010. The way that your Internet browser may be betraying your identity could surprise you.
Identifiable and Easy to Get
Whenever you visit a website, the website gathers information about you. This information includes quite a bit of data about your web browser. It’s likely that your web browser is rather unique. Between your operating system, browser model, the various plug-ins you have running on your browser, your cookies and other data, a website can feasibly create a unique fingerprint of your browser that allows them to identify you, according to information from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
In a study that involved over 1 million visitors, the EFF was able to gather unique fingerprints for 84 percent of the browsers that visit. Additionally, browsers that were running Adobe Flash or Java were identifiable 94 percent of the time. Of course, it’s almost impossible to view the web without Adobe Flash or Java installed.
Using a VPN service is the most effective way to encrypt your traffic and to conceal your IP address when you are on the Internet. Remember, however, that there are always other threats out there, as well. If you want to avoid being tracked from website to website, one possible solution is to use a specific browser for visiting websites that you believe are gathering too much personal information about you and to use a different browser to visit other sites. Beyond that, however, installing script blocking software, ad blocking software and other privacy enhancing plug-ins and extensions is the best way to reduce your browser’s uniqueness on the web.