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TRUST Security Seminar, Sep 11

This talk will cover our study of three advanced web tracking mechanisms: canvas fingerprinting, evercookies and cookie syncing. Canvas fingerprinting, a recently developed form of browser fingerprinting, exploits the differences in image rendering by browsers to obtain a unique tracking identifier. Our study found that over 5% of the top 100,000 websites, ranging from whitehouse.gov to popular adult sites, included scripts that utilize canvas fingerprinting, along with other known forms of browser fingerprinting as demonstrated by EFF’s Panopticlick Project.

The talk will also feature the results of our first automated study of evercookies and respawning, the tracking techniques which had previously led to a lawsuit and a $500,000 settlement in US. Finally, the amplification of privacy-intrusive tracking practices due to cookie syncing and novel techniques for detecting tracking identifiers will be presented.

Gunes Acar is a PhD student at University of Leuven, in Belgium, where he works on privacy and anonymity technologies with a focus on online tracking and browser fingerprinting. Gunes studied electronics engineering, linguistics and media in Ankara, Turkey, where he also worked as programmer for a couple of years.