Firefox Update Will Kill This Sneaky Tracking Technique – Forbes
There are all kinds of ways that advertisers try to track you online. You already know about cookies, but did you know you can be identified by the fonts that are on your computer?
It’s a form of what’s known as browser fingerprinting. By probing your browser for various bits of information — like your screen resolution, time zone, interface language, what plug-ins you have installed — you can actually be identified with a high level of precision.
Fingerprinting is harder to fend off than a run-of-the-mill cookie because all the data your browsing is handing over is stuff that any website might need in order to deliver you a page that’s actually usable. It all looks harmless enough, but when you add it all up it’s a real privacy concern.
How do you protect yourself from fingerprinting? By using a browser that offers protection from it. Firefox is a good choice, and when version 52 arrives later this year that protection will get even better.
Firefox 52 will help prevent sites from tracking you by checking the typefaces that you have installed on your computer. Yes, the same fonts you can scroll through to change the look of your Word documents.
Can you actually be identified by the fonts on your computer? Absolutely.
What is Mozilla doing to prevent that from happening? They’re building a font whitelist. When a site requests a list of the fonts on your machine, Firefox 52 will only return those approved fonts.