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GPU Fingerprinting Can Be Used to Track You Online

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The model created by the researchers makes use of fixed workloads based on WebGL, the cross-platform API that allows graphics cards to render graphics as their are presented in-browser.

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An international team of researchers from France, Israel and Australia have developed a new technique that can identify individual users according to their specific, unique graphics card signature. Named DrawnApart, the research, which serves as a proof of concept, serves as a warning towards more invasive identification measures that websites or ill-intentioned actors could take in order to collect data on individual users' online activities  in real-time.

The technique is based on the inherent variations of hardware due to variability in manufacturing processes and individual components. Much like no human fingerprint is identical to another, no single CPU, GPU, or any other consumer item is identical to one another. This is part of the reason why CPU and GPU overclocking varies even within the same product model from manufacturers, and gave rise to the emergence of said "golden" hardware. This, in turn, means that there are minute, individual variations on performance, power, and processing capabilities of each graphics card, making this kind of identification possible.


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