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Digital Fingerprinting

Introduction

Problem Statement:


While engaged in a fintech project, we encountered a challenge involving an influx of fraudulent transactions from clients utilizing the same order ID or reference. Delving into the logs, we scrutinized the vulnerability’s root causes. We identified several issues and promptly addressed them. Additionally, we devised a solution: implementing a system to flag devices exhibiting suspicious behavior, thereby mitigating the risk associated with transactions originating from such devices. Below, we explore the concept of digital fingerprinting in greater detail.

Section 1: Introduction:

Initially, let’s grasp the concept of digital fingerprinting—a technique used to uniquely identify and track an individual’s online device. It involves gathering various information about a user’s device, such as browser type, operating system, and plugins, to create a unique identifier hash identity. Companies can use this identifier, known as a digital fingerprint, to track users across various websites and identify suspicious or fraudulent activities. Digital fingerprinting plays a crucial role in online security and privacy protection. 

Section 2: Why it’s required

Businesses utilize digital fingerprinting to bolster online security, deter fraud, and monitor user behavior across diverse platforms. It allows websites and online services to uniquely identify and authenticate users based on their device characteristics. Additionally, digital fingerprinting helps detect suspicious activities, protect against identity theft, and personalize user experiences. It’s an important tool in ensuring online safety and privacy. Digital Fingerprinting machines are available for preventing fraud and tracking users.

Section 3: Here is some benefits & functionalities provides by digital fingerprinting:

  • Enhanced security:
    • Digital fingerprinting helps in identifying and authenticating users, reducing the risk of unauthorized access and identity theft.
  • Fraud prevention:
    • By tracking and analyzing user behavior, digital fingerprinting can detect and prevent fraudulent activities such as account takeovers and fake registrations.
  • Personalization:
    • Digital fingerprints allow for personalized user experiences by identifying returning users and tailoring content and recommendations based on their preferences.
  • Behavioral tracking:
    • Digital fingerprinting enables the tracking of user behavior across different platforms and websites, providing valuable insights for marketing and analytics purposes.
  • Device recognition:
    • It helps in identifying and distinguishing between different devices used by a user, allowing for cross-device tracking and consistent user experiences.
  • Anti-bot measures:
    • Using digital fingerprinting enables the detection and blocking of automated bots and malicious activities, thus safeguarding online platforms and services.

Fingerprint.js collects various information about a user’s browser and device, such as user agent, screen resolution, installed plugins, type of browser client using, checks if active tab is incognito and many more, to create a unique identifier or fingerprint. This fingerprint can be used for tracking and identifying users across different websites and sessions. Fingerprint.js provides an easy-to-use API for collecting and generating fingerprints in JavaScript. It’s commonly used for security, analytics, and personalization purposes.

Conclusion:

So conclusion is like, initially we marks some points as per the researched thats needs to address first like:

  1. Client Side Encryption (CSE) of sensitive data becomes essential. Intruders use the identified approach for their purposes. (regardless of channel security with TLS 2.0 or PCI DSS enabled etc).
  2. Rate-limiting sets maximum requests per time frame based on the originating IP to curb malicious requests.(for example allow 100 request per 5 mins)
  3. Take a close look at the header – req.headers[‘x-forwarded-for’]`: Contains the client IP but still it can be spoofed, so there are chances of a spoof but we still we can create summary of IP’s from where requests in being initiated, (for example IP address range, IP pool etc)
  4. Digital Fingerprinting: As we identified that ‘FingerprintJS’ is the best option for browser fingerprint but after a range of requests we need to opt for membership to feed a large number of requests, so we made our own browser fingerprinting script.

Here is some closing thoughts:

So for tightly coupled security we need to combine multiple security parameters & need to use Web application Firewall (WAF) It’s like a cherry on a cake, it prevents & provides lots of security parameters. Security purposes can utilize digital fingerprinting machines as well.

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