Device Fingerprinting Use in Fraud Reduction

All businesses are online today. So are all major fraudsters! Both sides are in a furious race of technologies – companies need to protect themselves, while fraudsters seek opportunities to steal all the money with impunity. Unfortunately for the criminals, device fingerprinting gains momentum and helps organizations detect and prevent fraud proactively. How does it work? fraud prevention experts explain it below. 

How Device Fingerprinting Works

Device fingerprinting (DF) is an algorithm that can track and analyze user software and hardware configurations. DF creates a new unique ID for every newly detected device configuration and enables connections between these device IDs and users in order to detect actual sources of suspicious activity. 

Every user who enters a company’s online platform uses 3 essential items: 

  • a device with unique configurations;
  • a mobile or web-based application;
  • an Internet connection that’s established via an IP address. 

All these elements create a data source that is enough to extract the exact behavior patterns of each user, understand them, and even detect fraudsters before they implement their malicious plans.

DF launch requires the integration of a specially crafted code that can automatically collect a wide range of parameters about platform users. Some of the data types that can be tracked and analyzed include:

  • Device display information;
  • Current operating system name and version;
  • Device model and serial number;
  • Installed browser version and browser plugins;
  • Actual device time zone;
  • Battery data;
  • Cookies and browser hash;
  • GPU, CPU, and RAM info;
  • WiFi info;
  • Device language;
  • Kernel info;
  • Mobile carrier info;
  • Android or iOS version; 
  • And many other data types. 

Is Device FIngerprinting Efficient?

Fraudsters usually use the trial and error method to unlock at least some of the credit cards they have stolen. It means that the process includes multiple repetitive actions that are very different from typical user behavior patterns. Besides, fraudsters can’t switch devices every time they check a card. That’s why they use the following methods:

  • Cache cleaning 
  • Browser switching 
  • Browsing in incognito mode 
  • Using virtual machines that emulate new devices repetitively
  • Software for device spoofing and fingerprinting protection
  • Spoof multiple mobile devices with special software.

DF can give you the clues if someone is trying to fool your system because clearing cache is easy to detect, as well as multiple logins from the same device. That’s because different IDs that come from the same IP are a true sign of account takeover attempts. Generated hash is also easily detectable and signals about browser spoofing attempts. 

However, DF can’t trigger all the possible fraud attempts. Similar to all other fraud detection systems, It’s not comprehensive enough and must be used in combination with other systems. 

Essential Minimum

Device Fingerprinting is currently an essential element for every online business platform’s fraud protection system. It can help the financial security department detect and halt many fraud attempts before they are successful. With automatic behavior analysis, all the detections occur instantly and let human supervisors make the right decisions in time.