ThreatMetrix Announces Cookieless Device Identification

The new release enables businesses to automate fraud decisioning across customer acquisition lifecycle.


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:


“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

Superior Automated Online Fraud Prevention

Real-Time Cloud Intelligence


fraud prevention, ThreatMatrix