Device fingerprinting sounds like it has to do something with those fingerprint scanners on our smartphones and laptops.
But that’s not what device fingerprinting is actually about. This technology analyzes the hardware and software parameters of a device to give it a unique ID. This makes it possible to recognize a certain device and the user behind it and trace the connections between users and their multiple devices! But how can it help reduce fraud?
Device Fingerprinting in Fraud Prevention
Let’s imagine that you’re already using a basic IP address identification to resist fraudulent activity. It seems quite easy to identify and block an IP that looks suspicious. But what would you do if multiple devices are connected to the same IP? Blocking dozens and hundreds of legitimate users to cut off one fraudster is too much of a sacrifice! And what if intruders are using VPNs?
That’s where fingerprinting solves the problem. Data analysis separates one device from another and gives each of them an ID within your network. As a result, you have a detailed map of users and can highlight and block suspicious devices more accurately.
Unlike cookies, website users can’t refuse to share their device configurations, and you are not supposed to ask them for permission. Still, they can install spoofing software to block websites from analyzing device data. Here is a basic example of spoofing software use – a fraudster is using an Android device with a Chrome browser, but the website recognizes it as an iPhone with a Safari browser. The number of combinations is endless, and there’s no need to switch up devices for this. While spoofing remains undetectable, fingerprinting still can detect what follows, including:
- card testing fraud – when fraudsters are testing multiple stolen credit cards to find the one that is still working;
- account takeover fraud – when attackers get real users’ logins and passwords. Fingerprinting detects access from unfamiliar devices and can trigger two-factor authentication and other restrictions.
Knowing this, you should employ additional fraud prevention methods, including address verification, geolocation analysis, CVV verification, velocity checking, fraud screening of affiliate networks, and biometric analysis. The more data you obtain, the lower the risk is.
A Part of Your Strategy
Although device fingerprinting is already a powerful standalone anti-fraud solution, it’s not impenetrable. You should consider it as a part of your firewall and an effective reactive fraud management tool. While fraudsters develop new tactics every now and then, you should combine device fingerprinting with other solutions to stay one step ahead of any enemies.
At the same time, this method is indispensable and proves its efficiency against all fraudsters who are not familiar with it. Stay on top of your fraud management system and update it as frequently as possible. That’s where device fingerprinting vendors are extremely helpful as they provide integration of the latest fingerprinting protocols into your website seamlessly and don’t require any effort from your side.