Minimize your browser fingerprint

Why should I mask my browser's "fingerprint"?

When you surf the Internet, you identify yourself to the websites you visit. An obvious way would be with your IP address, but your browser fingerprint identifies you too -- sometimes in ways that are almost as, or just as, unique as a real fingerprint.

When properly masked, you will enjoy a little more privacy. You already may have thought to use Tor or a VPN to mask your IP address. But if you are trying to avoid entities such as advertising firms and other unscrupulous individuals from building a profile on your search habits, it is crucial that you also mask your browser fingerprint.

The key is to blend in as much as possible -- to avoid being uniquely identifiable.

The version of Abrowser that is included in Trisquel version 6 is susceptible for browser fingerprinting. Some potentially easy fixes for making Abrowser less unique and trackable include the following:

Install Blender, configure, and install LibreJS:

  1. Install Blender.
  2. It is a good idea to disable all plugins, but not required. If you don't want to do that, skip to 3.
  3. Go to Extensions, locate Blender, select Preferences, then check the "Fake Language" and "Disable plugins" boxes. This will hide your language and plugins.
  4. Go to and let them analyze your browser. Without Blender, Abrowser is unique. After following these steps, Abrowser is in 364,153. Not quite good enough, so continue to 5.
  5. Installing LibreJS on top of all this will bring your fingerprint down to a rarity of one in 2,764 browsers.

However, the user agent string could be improved, since Blender gives you a user agent string that still makes you as rare as 1 in 200, without even multiplying against other factors. The reader is invited to contribute to that extension. It would also be ideal if one could obscure the time zone, screensize, and color depth.

You can also change the user agent manually, without an extension:

  1. Go to your address bar and enter:

  2. Promise to be careful.
  3. Scroll down until you find general.useragent.override
  4. On that row, double click the Value column and type your desired user agent string.
  5. If you wish to restore back to the default user agent string, right click and select Reset.

You can turn off cookies and javascript

This alone will bring your uniqueness down to 1 in 90,000.

Some disadvantages

Depending on your chosen user agent string, you may find that websites incorrectly think you are running Windows. Or, if you masquerade as a bot, there is a chance that you will not be able to access certain sites because that string was blacklisted. However, these represent minor, infrequent inconveniences, and for the vast majority of sites you visit, your experience should not be significantly different (if at all).

Disabling cookies and javascript, on the other hand, may render many webpages unusable or unreadable.

Disabling plugins may make some media on the Internet inaccessible, but you will notice this mainly with Flash - and there are many good work arounds, such as using browser extensions to download the flash videos (1,2). The Java plugin, meanwhile, is unsafe, and largely unnecessary. The fewer plugins you use, the less you will stand out.

There are a variety of ways to minimize your browser fingerprint. Ultimately, how you do it is up to you. Do your own experiments and ask yourself if the benefit to your browsing experience is worth the cost of trackability.


04/01/2014 - 00:47
07/11/2019 - 19:20