Are you looking to learn more about device spoofing tools and how they are used to bypass security and monitoring systems on the Internet? Then you are on the right page. Below is an article that provides you with all of the information you need to know.
User tracking has always been beneficial to government agencies, websites, and even advertisers online. Via tracking, users are understood, and the web performance or even the service, in general, is better suited. It is also via user monitoring and tracking that security agencies are able to apprehend bad actors online. However, just as security companies online are getting smarter with their techniques, so are the bad actors online.
And one of the methods malicious online users use to evade detection is device spoofing. What this entails is basically using software that alters their device and browser’s real detail, thereby helping them to pose as other users online. This method makes browser fingerprinting useless at apprehending web criminals and other bad actors when implemented correctly. As a website owner, you need to know of their antics and how to stay protected from users of device spoofing tools.
An Overview of Web Tracking via Browser Fingerprinting
In the early days of the web, users were tracked by using their IP addresses and cookies. Soon after, malicious users with ill intentions began looking for ways to circumvent this. With the help of VPN, proxies, or the Tor network, they could mask their IP address. And cookies are easy to delete from a browser.
Some of the information collected includes the browser type and version, operating system, fonts, plugins, screen resolution, Canvas, and AudioContext generated hash, among others. At first, this might not look unique to you. But if you look at all of the information collected about you and put it together, you will discover how identifiable you can be on the web.
You can use the AmIUnique tool to see how effective browser fingerprinting can be at detecting you. According to multiple studies, between 80 to 90 percent of browser fingerprints are correct. While the other 10 – 20 percent is not, there are chances you can be uniquely identified than you can’t.
What is Browser Fingerprinting Used for?
Who are the people using browser fingerprinting, and what are they used for? According to this article on ZDNET, a quarter of the top 10K sites, as tracked by Alexa, use browser fingerprinting. FingerprintJS scripts account for over 80 percent of browser fingerprinting on the web, followed far behind by ClientJS, MaxMind, TruValidate, and ThreatMetrix. Let’s take a look at what the big deal really is.
It might interest you to know that marketing is one of the top users of browser fingerprinting. In fact, most developers of device spoofing tools parade themselves as evangelist against web tracking for marketing purposes. Advertisers like Google Adsense have web trackers on many websites. This enables them to track you across websites as you move around. They use browser fingerprints to better understand you, your preference, and your habit so they can deliver ads you won’t resist.
Bank websites, credit card companies, and other financial institutions use browser fingerprinting for fraud protection. They go beyond using IP addresses and cookies, knowing how easy they are to manipulate. These services track your behavior and device fingerprint, so if there is a contradiction with your normal, their anti-fraud system will be activated. This is actually the most legitimate and user centric reason for tracking users via browser fingerprinting.
Ensuring Better User Experience and Enforcing Usage Policies
Some sites do not engage in browser fingerprinting for advert’s sake, nor are they doing it to prevent financial fraud. All they need your browser fingerprint is to better identify you, even without your IP address or cookies placed in your browser. With this, they can provide you with a better user experience and some level of personalization.
However, this can also be used against you. Social media sites, as an example, will use browser fingerprints to identify multiple accounts and block all of them provided they are being managed from the same browser or device.
What is Device Spoofing?
Device spoofing refers to the act of changing the appearance or identification of a device in order to hide its true identity or to pretend to be another device. In the context of network communication, device spoofing can be used to launch various types of attacks such as man-in-the-middle attacks, denial-of-service attacks, and others.
The primary goal of device spoofing is to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information or to carry out malicious activities without being detected. The process of device spoofing involves forging the MAC address, IP address, and other parameters that are used to identify a device on a network.
Browser fingerprint spoofing
Device spoofing is actually another name for browser fingerprint spoofing In a narrow sense. This is the process of using some specialized software to mask your real browser and device fingerprint by providing fake generic ones. This software is known as antidetect browsers but can also be called an anti-fingerprinting browser. These browsers are developed in such a way that users can change their operating systems, browser type and version, language settings, fonts, and even add noise to Canvas and AudioContext.
These browsers also allow users to create as many browser profiles as required, each having its own unique fingerprint, browser environment (cookies, cache, and local storage), and even IP address. With this, it becomes highly difficult for web services to identify the activities of such users as they can’t be tracked to a single browser or even a device. It takes a lot of expertise to be able to detect the usage of anti-fingerprinting browsers. The only way to deal with them is to use specialized tools. Makers of these tools claim to offer them for legitimate users that do not like being tracked.
But if you look at the effort it takes to develop them and their subsequent high price, you can tell just regular Internet users looking for privacy will not pay such prices. These tools are used mostly by marketers and fraudsters. For marketers, there is some legitimate use to which they can put them too, but this goes against the term of usage of most websites. There is simply no legitimate use case for device spoofing tools for fraudsters.
Mobile devices spoofing (Android & iPhone)
There are several types of device spoofing that can be performed on Mobile devices:
- MAC Address Spoofing: This involves changing the MAC address of an Android device to appear as a different device. This can be done to avoid network restrictions or to access restricted networks.
- GPS Spoofing: This involves tricking an Android device into thinking it is located in a different location. This can be done to access geo-restricted content or to fake the location of an app.
- IMEI Spoofing: This involves changing the IMEI number of an Android device. This can be used to avoid blacklist restrictions or to access restricted networks.
- Model Spoofing: This involves changing the device model of an Android device. This can be used to access restricted content or to avoid restrictions based on device type.
It’s important to note that device spoofing is illegal in some countries and can cause serious harm to an Android device. It’s also not recommended as it can compromise the security of the device and put sensitive data at risk
How Does Device Spoofing Work?
From the above, you can tell how device spoofing works. But how are they made, and what do you need to know about their working model? Generally, there are two methods of device spoofing, and each of these has its own method of masking one’s real device configuration with a different one.
Some of these modify chromium and the Firefox engine before compiling them, making them difficult to detect. However, all hope isn’t lost, as they can still be detected because of the inconsistencies that exist from the modification.
As stated earlier, there is hardly any good reason one will use device spoofing on your site. The mindset alone defeats any reason, as the user is trying to be deceptive. But what do users of device spoofing tools use them for?
1. Manage Multiple Accounts
Most websites do not allow users to manage multiple accounts. For some of the top sites, they collect browser fingerprints associated with each account on their site and see if it matches with others to identify multiple accounts.
This method was effective until device spoofing tools were introduced. Using these tools, users can manage multiple accounts. Device spoofing tools are the reason users can create and manage multiple social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram), e-commerce accounts, and even PayPal and Nike.
2. Impersonate Legitimate Online Users for Fraud
As stated earlier, financial services such as credit card companies and banks do not just depend on your login details, IP address, and cookies. They also make use of browser fingerprints. And even with the correct card number, CVV, and all of the other required detail, a card company can still detect fraudulent activities. What card fraudsters do is use device spoofing tools to get the fingerprint of the real owner and, by doing this, make them appear as the legitimate owners of the card.
3. Access Blocked Sites
Sites that use browser fingerprinting use the identities to also enforce their spam rules. If you have been blocked from the site, then changing your IP address and cookies will not help you. The moment you create a new account, the new account also gets blocked. What device spoofing tools users do is use a device spoofer to make it look like they are using a new device and, as such, make it difficult for sites to know they have been banned from the platform.
4. Web Automation
Among some of the new uses of browsers, fingerprinting is blocking bot traffic. Bot developers have learned to use proxies to evade detection. With the help of a browser fingerprint, a site can tell if a large number of requests originate from the same device, even if proxies are used. Device spoofing tools make it easier for bot developers to hide their browser fingerprints and provide as many fingerprints as necessary to hide their activities.
How to Identify Device Spoofing
Is device spoofing easy to identify? The truth is, this can be more difficult to identify than you think. There is just a lot of other ways to carry out malicious acts than just device spoofing. This makes it difficult to pinpoint device spoofing as the culprit. However, you can use some of the pointers below to identify potential device spoofing.
Analyze Fingerprints for Anomalies
The number one method to detect and identify device spoofing is to carefully analyze the browser fingerprint method — there is almost always a clue. According to the test on this page, even the popular anti-fingerprinting browsers are not left out. Even with the deep modification done, there are some inconsistencies introduced.
For example, a browser profile with a user agent string Windows but having a graphic card that looks like Mac. You should have a database of real browser fingerprints and see what is off — that is a spoofed device right there.
Device spoofing allows you to do this. But there are many users that forget to use the feature. When there is a difference between the two values provided, you can tell the user is spoofing something.
Use Specialised Device Fingerprinting Tools
The truth is, you wouldn’t be able to detect and stop device fingerprinting on your own. If you could, you wouldn’t be reading this article. It is advisable to make use of a specialized tool to identify spoofed devices and keep them away from your site.
You can use the Fingerprint Pro tool to protect your side from device spoofing fraud. There is a good number of alternatives to the tool that you can use to protect your site. These tools use machine learning, AI, and a host of in-house techniques to identify device spoofing.
FAQs About Device Spoofing
Q. Is Device Spoofing Illegal?
From the perspective of a site admin, device spoofing is an illegal activity. While those that engage in device spoofing do so for some fraudulent reason, device spoofing itself is not illegal. Internet users have the right to protect their privacy, and they hide under such to spoof their device fingerprints. This means that you can’t sue anyone because he is making use of a spoofed device. You can only tighten things from your end to make it difficult for him to succeed in his goals.
Q. Can Spoofed Device Put you in Trouble?
anti-fingerprinting software providers are becoming sophisticated, providing their users with real browser fingerprints of credit card owners. While this might not even be a problem for you as a site admin, you need a system in place to stop fraud and money laundering. Spoof devices will find it easier to carry out these, and you will be seen as accomplished for not having an adequate system in place to detect and block them.
Q. Difference Between Antidetect Browsers and Anti-Fingerprint Browsers?
These two terms are the same and just differentiated for marketing. All antidetect browsers are also anti-fingerprinting browsers. The term antidetect browser is used when marketing the browser for managing multiple accounts as they support multiple profiles. On the other hand, the term anti-fingerprinting browser is used when one wants to spoof his browser fingerprint. But in all, the terms are interchangeable.
There is no doubt that you cannot always match the resilience of cybercriminals and fraudsters. However, you can always try and keep yourself protected and even minis the effect they could have should you become a target of any of the attacks. In the above, you are shown how to deal with device spoofing to avoid fraud on your site.