back to article Sites pulling sneaky Flash cookie-snoop

Many websites are using Flash-based cookies to track users, but often omit to mention this in their privacy policies. US academics have documented the little-known tracking technology and its use in practice in a paper called Flash Cookies and Privacy. Browser-based cookies constitute a well understood and widely deployed …

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  1. Cameron Colley

    What are the tools which block Flash cookies?

    I can see Firefox Add-ons being produced to do this in the near future. In the mean time, I must get scripting.

  2. Bob Starling
    Thumb Up

    Ta for the information

    Didn't know about this. Went browsing and found that you can see what sites have been storing information and do some management of blocking etc using the following link.

    http://www.macromedia.com/support/documentation/en/flashplayer/help/settings_manager07.html

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. twunt

    There already is one

    'Better Privacy' is the firefox extension for this.

  5. Donald Miller

    Blocking Exposing Myself cookies

    Just deleting the folders keeps Flash from running. By properly changing the permissions on the two folders Flash uses, you can keep them from forming, so you don't need to flush them (and we all know what needs to be flushed!) Apparently, to keep from revealing themselves, if they can't write the cookie you don't get an error.

    You need a Benny Hill icon to go with this story. Paris is not showing her correct end.

  6. captain veg

    Didn't know about that

    Here's how to see who's been dumping on you, and prevent it happening again.

    http://www.macromedia.com/support/documentation/en/flashplayer/help/settings_manager07.html

    -A.

  7. Sim
    Thumb Up

    Better Privacy

    Firefox addon that removes flash cookies

  8. Julian I-Do-Stuff

    Tools

    For Firefox - Better Privacy has been one of my security/privacy add ons for a while now... deals with Locally Stored Objects - Flash cookies & DOM storage...

  9. Col

    Addon

    Better Privacy (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/6623) lets you get rid of them.

  10. m0tive

    Re: Firefox Add-on

    There already is one: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/6623

    It doesn't block them, but deletes them when firefox closes.

  11. Tom Chiverton 1
    Boffin

    Eh ?

    You could do some research, like, say, read the comments from when this was on /. the other day - there are many FireFox plugins, or handy locations to delete things from on your disk if you prefer.

    Solved problem, sky not falling.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Turn it off

    To turn it off, go here, set storage to zero.

    http://www.macromedia.com/support/documentation/en/flashplayer/help/settings_manager03.html

  13. hahnchen
    Go

    You can disable local flash storage via your flash setttings

    http://www.macromedia.com/support/documentation/en/flashplayer/help/settings_manager06.html

    As for Firefox addons, they already exist - Flashblock and AdblockPlus.

    Flashblock makes Flash behave like it should (you have to click play for flash apps/video to run) - I wish browsers would do this by default. It stops your resources from getting raped, and cuts down on the seizure inducing advertisments.

  14. StillNoCouch
    Boffin

    Confirms my suspicions

    Adobe is the antichrist.

  15. Cameron Colley
    Thumb Up

    Thanks to those who gave solutions.

    Yes, I could have googled it when I got home tonight -- but I thought it would be more complete to ask here.

  16. Apocalypse Later

    Adobe

    The original adobe was dried mud used to make primitive bricks for building. So their name is mud, and they chose it themselves.

  17. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Up

    One FireFox add on downloaded...

    ... sorted!

    Thanks guys :-)

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    web standards...

    this is why we have web standards and the proliferation of proprietary web software is bad... yes flash and silverlight are the main culprits in terms of trying to turn the web to their own proprietary party....

  19. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    just say NO to flash

    Another waste of my interwebs time and bandwidth.

  20. Old Peculier
    Pint

    Sandbox

    There is an alternative option for keeping flash cookies from intruding onto your machine.

    I run Firefox in a sandbox (http://www.sandboxie.com). Any flash cookies, adware, malware or whatever else is unknowingly downloaded, are only stored temporarily in the sandbox during the browser session. When Firefox is closed, the sandbox deletes all the crap that would normally be left behind on your system.

    You do need to have Xmarks (was foxmarks) add-on installed in your browser prior to running in the sandbox. This add-on resyncs your bookmarks each time Firefox is opened.

  21. Steve Roper
    FAIL

    This is why

    I don't like proprietary plugins to browsers. The W3C standards are there for many reasons and this is one of them. All my company's websites do not use Flash, Silverlight, Quicktime or any other closed-source solution. Video and audio, if required, are handled by our Java applet right now and this will be getting replaced with the <video> and <audio> tags once HTML 5 becomes more widely supported. I am not in the least surprised by such an attempt to bypass user privacy settings, it is certainly in keeping with the fuck-you customer attitude prevailing in the advertising industry these days.

  22. Mike T
    WTF?

    "effectuating"?

    Is that a word?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Megaphone

    Flash Off !!

    Stop this Flasturbation or you'll go blind!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Any others doing the same?

    any other software in widespread use doing the same or similar - pdf readers? silverlight?

    Anyone noticed any changed behaviours at web sites that relied on flash cookies that are now blocked? (I note that gmail was one - it now seems faster but that's purely subjective).

    I guess there are places where they are used to our benefit - like: don't show the "new visitor welcome movie".

    Any way of reading Flash cookie content to see what info they are keeping?

  25. Ian Ferguson
    Troll

    Um, so?

    Hands up who reads the terms and conditions of every site they visit.

  26. bluest.one
    Thumb Up

    Better Privacy

    Just to add to the posts recommending the Firefox addon, Better Privacy. It can be set to delete the LSO's on browser close, or whenever you like, manually.

    I think Adobe (who didn't create Flash, as some people seem to think) need to have an offline browser-integrated Flash options interface, that allows the user to find these options easily. The online one requires that you both know it exists and find it yourself - there's no way of finding it through Flash itself.

    It's unnaceptable that such a privacy concern is still so ignored by Adobe.

    Sandboxie, Old Peculier, doesn't and apparently never will have, a Vista/Win7 64-bit version, so will likely become a thing of the past. A shame, because it's a neat little thing and ever-so-handy.

  27. Jacob Reid
    Paris Hilton

    NoScript FTW

    I never allow any site to use flash without a good reason.

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