You Deleted Your Cookies? Think Againvia: Wired (Note: Wired.com uses Flash cookies)
August 10, 2009
More than half of the internet’s top websites use a little known capability of Adobe’s Flash plug-in to track users and store information about them, but only four of them mention the so-called Flash Cookies in their privacy policies, UC Berkeley researchers reported Monday.
Unlike traditional browser cookies, Flash cookies are relatively unknown to web users, and they are not controlled through the cookie privacy controls in a browser. That means even if a user thinks they have cleared their computer of tracking objects, they most likely have not.
What’s even sneakier?
Some flash LSO-cookie properties in short...Via: firefox addon BetterPrivacy 1.29
- they are never expiring - staying on your computer for an unlimited time.
- by default they offer a storage of 100 KB (compare: Usual cookies 4 KB).
- browsers are not aware of those cookies, LSO's usually cannot be removed by browsers.
- via Flash they can access and store highly specific personal and technical information (system, user name, files,...).
- ability to send the stored information to the appropriate server, without user's permission.
- flash applications do not need to be visible
- there is no easy way to tell which flash-cookie sites are tracking you.
- shared folders allow cross-browser tracking, LSO's work in every flash-enabled application
- the company doesn't provide a user-friendly way to manage LSO's, in fact it's incredible cumbersome.
- many domains and tracking companies make extensive use of flash-cookies.
- These cookies are not harmless.
------------------------- IMPORTANT -------------------------
IF YOU PERMIT DELETION OF LSO's,
THEN COOKIE-STORED INFORMATION LIKE
GAME SETTINGS OR LOGIN DATA (YAHOO SEAL)
MIGHT BE LOST! MAKE SURE THAT YOU EXCLUDED
IMPORTANT COOKIES FROM DELETION