ThreatMatrix Rolls Out Cookieless Device Identification

ThreatMetrix Fraud Network helps businesses detect returning visitors based on the attributes of the device

November 17, 2010

6 Min Read


LOS ALTOS, CA. – November 16, 2010 – ThreatMetrix™, the fastest-growing provider of fraud prevention solutions that do not require personally identifiable information (PII), today announced the availability of the Fall 2010 release of the ThreatMetrix Fraud Network incorporating ThreatMetrix SmartID™ which enables companies to stop online fraud while protecting customer privacy without the use of cookies and cookie equivalents such as local stored objects (LSO).

With the introduction of the Fall 2010 release of the ThreatMetrix Fraud Network, ThreatMetrix has enhanced businesses ability to detect returning visitors based on the attributes of the device – be it a smartphone, personal or tablet computer – without using any cookie information and has improved rules to use this information to detect spoofed devices and IP addresses as well as sniff out botnets.

“Fraudsters know how to change their user ID, change their IP address and delete cookies,” said Stacy Martin, director of customer service and fraud prevention, Tapjoy, a ThreatMetrix customer and the leader in monetization and distribution services for social and mobile gaming applications, MMOs, virtual worlds, social platforms and other publishers selling virtual goods or premium digital assets. “With the ThreatMetrix Fraud Network, we’ve been able to stop fraud instances that we may have missed previously. With ThreatMetrix SmartID, we expect to catch even more, in particular in our growing mobile gaming market where cookies are extremely ineffective.”

According to Reed Taussig, president and CEO, ThreatMetrix, cookies are yesterday’s solution. Organizations have been losing their taste for cookies in tracking returning customers for a number of reasons including:

  • A privacy-conscious public has taken to deleting cookies.

    * Some popular antivirus software, such as Norton, deletes cookies as part of scheduled maintenance. * Flash cookies (LSOs) can be deleted at the same time as PC cookies are. * Apple’s iPhone, for one, does not support Flash and Motorola’s Droid has strict settings for browser and Flash cookies. * New browser privacy modes make it harder to identify returning visitors.

    “The days of tagging customer PCs in order to identify ‘good’ customers logging into user accounts are numbered, as regulatory privacy concerns and privacy settings in Adobe Flash Player 10.1 give end users explicit control over information downloaded to their PCs using Flash Player,” said Avivah Litan, vice president and distinguished analyst, Gartner Research. “Service providers who depend on Flash to identify client devices (such as PCs) in order to prevent fraud should evaluate and implement alternative technologies.” (“Privacy Collides with Fraud Detection and Crumbles Flash Cookies,” Avivah Litan, Gartner Research, February 8, 2010.)

    “ThreatMetrix is redefining the device identification landscape with the Fall 2010 release of the ThreatMetrix Fraud Network,” said Reed Taussig, president and CEO, ThreatMetrix. “Relying exclusively on cookies as a means of identifying which devices are involved in an online transaction is no longer adequate to protect customers from recurring fraud or to reliably identify valued returning customers.”

    The Fall 2010 release of the ThreatMetrix Fraud Network combines its best of breed ThreatMetrix ExactID™ device identification with ThreatMetrix SmartID technology to detect spoofed devices and IP addresses as well as sniff out botnets. While competing solutions rely primarily on cookies, cookie equivalents that are easily deleted, or a hash of a browser fingerprint that is brittle and continually changes, the Fall 2010 release of the ThreatMetrix Fraud Network provides a more accurate and fraud resistant approach.

    “The problem with today’s browser fingerprinting technologies is that they smudge easily,” said Alisdair Faulkner, chief products officer, ThreatMetrix. “Customers change their browser or IP address regularly and fraudsters routinely change their settings. Additionally, botnet scripts randomize device attributes. The result is missed fraud and worse, false positives and declined revenue. ThreatMetrix SmartID overcomes these problems with real-time intelligent matching and confidence scoring.”

    ThreatMetrix SmartID complements ThreatMetrix ExactID device identification that positively authenticates customers across PCs and smartphones with the ability to globally track fraudulent devices without false positives. That’s because unlike traditional hashing where every attribute must match exactly to get the same fingerprint, ThreatMetrix SmartID utilizes real-time intelligent matching and confidence scoring to make allowances for changes between visits.

    “This enables us to recognize returning devices in much the same way humans recognize faces,” said Taussig. “For example, a witness can still recognize a bank robber based on a distinguishing scar even if they have changed clothes, dyed their hair, or shaved their hair. That’s why ThreatMetrix SmartID is highly resilient whereas traditional device fingerprinting requiring ‘all or nothing matches’ are thrown off when a single feature changes. ThreatMetrix SmartID provides more effective identification of returning visitors that are trying to hide their identity. ThreatMetrix Smart ID can be used by the ThreatMetrix rules engine to identify and correlate suspicious transactions, or it can be fed into third-party identity verification, authorization and authentication solutions.”

    The Fall 2010 release of the ThreatMetrix Fraud Network includes several features tailored for financial institutions and high transaction, low latency environments:

    Cross Platform Device Identification and Verification

    • ThreatMetrix SmartID and ThreatMetrix ExactID for online fraud prevention for any web-enabled device including PCs, smartphones, and tablets without requiring PII.

      * Superior device identification capture rate based on a combination of browser and packet fingerprint matching even when Flash, JavaScript, cookies, or other browser attributes are disabled. * 20+ additional device attributes and anomaly flags to detect suspicious device configurations to protect banks and their customers.

      Superior Automated Online Fraud Prevention

    • Integrated policy configuration and transaction analysis across the customer acquisition lifecycle including account origination, login authentication, and transaction authorization. Ideal for banks, credit card and payment brands.

      * New detection capabilities including the ability to better identify account hijacks, man-in- the-middle attacks, hidden botnet proxies and malware, VPN usage, and the ability to tune risk and transaction limits based on customer loyalty. * Interactive dashboards and on-demand data warehouse reports to always stay on top of fraud trends.

      Real-Time Cloud Intelligence

    • Customer configurable risk scoring and reason codes based on recognized fraudulent behavior across the ThreatMetrix Fraud Network.

      * Distributed and high availability processing scaled to address peak login authentication load requirements of the largest financial institutions. * Global multi-datacenter rollout to support international customers based on high availability requirements

      To read a ThreatMetrix blog on why cookies are dead in the fight against fraud, visit:

      To view a video on the ThreatMetrix Fraud Network, visit: To read a whitepaper on the ThreatMetrix Fraud Network, visit:

      About ThreatMetrix ThreatMetrix helps companies stop web fraud and enable e-commerce in real-time so they can significantly reduce online fraud, acquire more customers faster, reduce costs, and increase customer satisfaction. The ThreatMetrix Fraud Network helps online businesses verify new accounts, authorize payments and transactions and authenticate user logins in real-time without relying on personally identifiable information (PII). ThreatMetrix profiles the device used in an online transaction so companies can determine whether the users are fraudsters or customers. ThreatMetrix device profiling goes beyond browser fingerprinting to identify the device, bypass proxies and detect the use of botnets. ThreatMetrix’ simple and cost-effective software-as-a-service (SaaS) approach to implementation enables companies to get results in hours or days, rather than weeks or months. The company serves a rapidly growing customer base in the U.S. and around the world across a variety of industries including social networks (dating, gaming), financial services, e-commerce, affiliate marketing and payments. For more information, visit or call 1-650-625-1451.

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