Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Flash Cookies: How To Get Rid Of Them...

And How To Prevent Them In The First Place

So, like I stated in my last post, you thought deleted all of your cookies right? So very, very wrong. While you may have gone in and manually deleted your browser's history and cookies and the like, some still remain. Possibly even hundreds.

Local Shared Objects

or Flash Cookies, as they are becoming lovingly known, are becoming more and more of a problem lately. Since they do not appear in the browser's private cookie stash, finding them can be a tedious task in itself.

So Where can You Find Them You Ask?

Well, I have come to find that on most hard drives they are located in the Flash Player directory within the Documents & Settings folder on the main hard drive. Since they are a part of the Flash Player plug-in, they get stored with the rest of the Flash Player settings. So wherever you may have your Flash Player installed, that is most likely where you will find these annoying little things.

What Was That You Wanted To Know? How Do You Get Rid Of Them?

Step One

Well the first thing you have to do is go to the Adobe Flash Player Site, access the Settings Manager by clicking the link on the left that says "Flash Player 10 Help (HTML)" and select the link on the left for the Website Privacy Settings. Once the page reloads, it will give a list of all of the web sites you have visited in the past that have placed a cookie somewhere on your hard drive. You can choose form the list which cookies to delete or delete them all (which I highly recommend, I will explain why further along). Next, you will need to click on the link for the Website Storage Settings and do the same thing.

Step Two

Keeping the Adobe Flash Player page open (you will need it again in a few minutes), go to the directory where you have your flash player installed. Here is a list of areas for the different operating systems, as they all have different directories in which they can be found: * Windows: LSO files are stored typically with a “.SOL” extension, within each user’s Application Data directory, under Macromedia\FlashPlayer\#SharedObjects. * Mac OS X: For Web sites , ~/Library/Preferences/Macromedia/FlashPlayer. For AIR Applications, ~/Library/Preferences/[package name (ID)of your app] and ~/Library/Preferences/Macromedia/FlashPlayer/macromedia.com/Support/flashplayer/sys * GNU-Linux: ~/.macromedia

Step Three

Once you have deleted the cookies form the directories on your hard drive, you can then go back to the Adobe page and continue with tweaking the settings so that flash cookies are no longer stored on your system in the first place. To do this, once you are back on the Adobe site, click on the links Global Privacy, Global Storage and Global settings panels one by one and on each one, click the option for "deny all." This will prevent any and all flash cookies to be stored on your hard drive, unless you give specific permission for a site to do so. The only difference these links is that on the Global Storage page, you have the option of allotting a certain amount of space on the hard drive to store the cookies. I recommend that you set this to zero. Otherwise you might just happen to store a cookie that can re-spawn itself. That is even though you might delete it, it can re-implant itself in the directory if you revisit the site you originally got it from.

So Will This Stop All Cookies?

While taking these actions may not stop all cookies from implanting themselves, it will certainly slow down a bit. The only way to really keep your computer secure is to be extra vigilant when it comes to privacy.

Almost like you are just a little paranoid about it... But then again, aren't we all?

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