Friday, September 11, 2009

So You Thought You Had Deleted Your Cookies...Right?

COOKIES…Everyone knows about them.

Everyone knows what cookies are, right? And you thought you deleted all of your cookies, right? You thought that going in and manually deleting them would do the trick. And for all of you Firefox users, there is even an extension that allows you to close the current page and delete cookies on a simple right click, right? Wrong.


What I bet you didn’t know is that there is another type of cookie that all the big name companies are using to track you. And these cookies don’t get deleted when cleaning the browser’s cache. Even going in and deleting them one by one won’t get rid of these cookies.


The cookies I am talking about are called Local Shared Objects, or “Flash Cookies.” Flash cookies are just like normal cookies, but can hold much more data than a regular cookie, up to 100 kb as opposed to 4 kb with a normal cookie. These cookies are usually used to store data when using flash with online movies and games to save a player’s progress or what color settings they prefer, etc.

SO WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL? It’s just a cookie right?

Wrong. It is an invasion of privacy. Because it is a flash cookie, it is not recognized as a cookie and is not deleted with the rest of them. And they can be hard to find, even if you know where to look for them. And the worst part is that even after they are deleted, the site that placed the cookie on your browser can restore it because the site itself retains the cookie information. And most sites that use these types of cookies DO NOT MENTION IT IN THEIR PRIVACY POLICY!

So What To Do About It?

Check back here tomorrow for what to do about these cookies, and how to protect yourself from the damage that they may cause.

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