How Digital Fingerprinting Works

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How Digital Fingerprinting Works

After the GDPR implementation, the customers received the right to actively refuse to accept cookies and demand their data be deleted from the web, among other things. This made customer identification for marketing and risk management purposes much harder, and various businesses worldwide turned to digital fingerprinting technology as a replacement. 

Covery uses digital fingerprinting to enable comprehensive risk management for our customers from the USA, Europe and across the globe. While a web fingerprint is easy to obtain and very useful, many online merchants ask us how digital fingerprinting actually works. Read on to learn all there is to know about browser fingerprint, how it is formed and the value it can provide for your business.

What is a web fingerprint?

Every device has to transmit a wide range of software and hardware identifiers with every package of data it sends out. This is needed in case a crash occurs while using any web or mobile app. Then, these details are added to the crash report sent to the developers, so they are able to recreate this environment and try to reproduce the bug in order to fix it.

Thus said, each and every device constantly uses a certain combination of identifiers. Coupled with other session info — OS system version installed, browser version, any plugins running, screen resolution for mobile devices, email address or phone number used to log in to the account, banking card ID on file, IBAN or SEPA account for that card, and more — this creates a unique browser fingerprint.

Such a fingerprint has 2 defining qualities — flexibility and consistency, and these are mutually exclusive. When a visitor logs in to your website from a mobile device, they form a digital fingerprint of their current device configuration. However, they might update their OS, browser or plugins next time, which will lower the consistency, and their fingerprint will have to be updated to reflect the new device configuration. The more frequent the changes — the less precise and consistent a fingerprint is. 

Without this, every software update on the user’s device will flag it as a new fingerprint, leading to multiple false positives. But this way, the software should automatically identify whether a digital fingerprint change is due to a software update, or due to a scammer using a synthetic identity fraud. How does this work as a part of an anti-fraud system?

Digital fingerprinting as an anti-fraud system

As mentioned before, digital fingerprinting technology is best used as an anti-fraud solution. Covery uses it in tandem with Trustchain — a global knowledgebase of reputational records, containing all the aforementioned identifiers. These are uncoupled, so no complete customer profiles are stored, in accordance with GDPR and the PATRIOT Act. However, the results of every web fingerprint check performed by every Covery customer are compared against the records in the Trustchain — and should any device identifier be spotted as a part of fraudulent activity, it is flagged during any check.

This way, if scammers try to create synthetic identity profiles that can fool traditional KYC/AML verification systems, a combination of Trustchain and device fingerprinting helps identify them anyways to prevent fraud and reduce the chargeback ratio for your business.


Digital fingerprinting technology is a reliable tool for identifying legitimate customers and fraudsters alike. This way, you can streamline the user experience for good customers and block fraudsters from inflicting harm to your business. This is just one of the benefits using Covery provides for your business, but this is quite a significant one.

Should you want to know about the rest of Covery’s features and how our risk management platform can deliver value for your business — contact us, we are always ready to talk!