marcos oliveira
Browsing behavior exposes identities on the Web


How easy is it to uniquely identify a person based on their web browsing behavior? Here we show that when people navigate the Web, their online traces produce fingerprints that identify them. By merely knowing their most visited web domains, four data points are enough to identify 95% of the individuals. These digital fingerprints are stable and render high re-identifiability. We demonstrate that we can re-identify 90% of the individuals in separate time slices of data. Such a privacy threat persists even with limited information about individuals’ browsing behavior, reinforcing existing concerns around online privacy.