PriVaricator: Deceiving Fingerprinters with Little White Lies

  • Nick Nikiforakis ,
  • Wouter Joosen ,
  • Benjamin Livshits ,
  • Ben Livshits

MSR-TR-2014-26 |

This paper proposes a solution to the problem of browser-based fingerprinting.
An important observation is that making fingerprints non-deterministic also
makes them hard to link across subsequent web site visits. Our key insight is
that when it comes to web tracking, the real problem with fingerprinting is not
uniqueness of a fingerprint, it is linkability, i.e. the ability to connect the
same fingerprint across multiple visits. In PriVaricator we use the power of
randomization to “break” linkability by exploring a space of parameterized
randomization policies. We evaluate our techniques in terms of being able to
prevent fingerprinting and also in terms of not breaking existing (benign)
sites. The best of our randomization policies renders all the fingerprinters we
tested ineffective, while causing minimal damage on a set of 1,000 Alexa sites
on which we tested, with no noticeable performance overhead.