Browse Definitions:
Definition

canvas fingerprinting (CPF)

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Canvas fingerprinting (CPF) is a surreptitious online user tracking technique that relies on minute differences in text or images drawn on command by users’ browsers.

Canvas fingerprinting relies on standard HTML5 and JavaScript, using a website canvas feature that one might draw on or use to display graphs and charts. On some sites, this is a visible and usable canvas. Sites that use canvas fingerprinting, however, use a hidden canvas. Commands to your graphics processing unit (GPU) cause it to draw a string of text as a pixel-based image that is almost perfectly unique and individually identifying. Even completely identical hardware systems are almost always individualized through variables such as different browsers, driver versions, font settings and text smoothing settings such as anti-aliasing.

ProPublica, an independent newsroom, claims that five percent of the top 100,000 websites use canvas fingerprinting and of those, 95 percent use AddThis.com’s product. Examples of sites using canvas fingerprinting include United States and Canadian government sites, POF.com and many others.

Methods of avoiding canvas fingerprinting include using TOR and Chameleon browsers, Adblock plus, Noscript browser extension, DoNotTrackMe and just turning off JavaScript. The unfortunate aspect of most of these solutions is that they may change ones browsing experience.

This was last updated in July 2014

Continue Reading About canvas fingerprinting (CPF)

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

SearchSecurity

  • Web application firewall (WAF)

    A Web application firewall (WAF) is a firewall that monitors, filters or blocks traffic to and from a Web application. WAFs are ...

  • MD5

    The MD5 hashing algorithm is a one-way cryptographic function that accepts a message of any length as input and returns as output...

  • identity theft

    Identity theft, also known as identity fraud, is a crime in which an imposter obtains key pieces of personally identifiable ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

  • mass notification system (MNS)

    A mass notification system is a platform that sends one-way messages to inform employees and the public of an emergency.

  • disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS)

    One approach to a strong disaster recovery plan is DRaaS, where companies offload data replication and restoration ...

SearchStorage

  • secondary storage

    Secondary storage is used to protect inactive data written from a primary storage array to a nonvolatile tier of disk, flash or ...

  • VRAM (video ram)

    VRAM (video RAM) is a reference to any type of random access memory (RAM) used to store image data for a computer display.

  • ZFS

    ZFS is a local file system and logical volume manager created by Sun Microsystems to control the placement, storage and retrieval...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • SSD RAID (solid-state drive RAID)

    SSD RAID (solid-state drive RAID) is a methodology commonly used to protect data by distributing redundant data blocks across ...

  • Tier 0

    Tier 0 (tier zero) is a level of data storage that is faster, and perhaps more expensive, than any other level in the storage ...

  • PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive)

    A PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive) is a high-speed expansion card that attaches a computer to its peripherals.

SearchCloudStorage

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

  • Zadara VPSA and ZIOS

    Zadara Storage provides block, file or object storage with varying levels of compute and capacity through its ZIOS and VPSA ...

Close