Earlier this week I went to “Oxford Geek Night” and the title of one of title of one of the sessions was “The Zombie Cookie apocalypse” delivered by David Sheldon (I wish his slides were on-line so you could read more and I could give him a proper credit), it wasn’t the only informative session – there were bunch of those - but it was one which sent me away thinking “I should have known that”.
Here’s the Gist. We all know about cookies, the little bits of information which web sites send to to your browser to make applications work, or to follow you round the web. Even IE6 knew that cookies could be bad and could reject the tracking ones. Adobe Flash keeps its own cookies, which bypass the normal rules. Although it doesn’t seem to widely known (I was in a roomful of people where internet expertise was the top skill, and no one seemed to have heard of this before) – it is reasonably well documented – often using Adobe’s name of “Local stored objects. You can read more information in Wikipedia’s dispassionate style, or you can have it in they’ll suck out your brains style if you prefer (of course you do !)
This has 3 main impacts.
So: How do you see, clear and block/allow Flash Cookies ? That announcement from Adobe suggests that in 10.1 you will be able to this by right clicking on flash in the browser and going to settings. Until you get 10.1, you have to visit a page on Adobe’s site –which isn’t espcially easy to find.
Clearing the information from my computer I made a note of some of the sites which were leaving information on my PC which I was certain I hadn’t visited and got a little PowerShell script to get the title from their home page. (Which worked for most sites, some take a little fiddling). Here are the names and descriptions.
You can see what business they are all in. I’ve added them to my list of sites blocked by InPrivate Filtering. Which reminds me, I must post part 2 of that.
Not sure if it's available for IE, but I've been using the BetterPrivacy plugin for Firefox for some time now - deals with flash cookies very well.
Was the BetterPrivacy Firefox add-on discussed? This seems to delete the flash cookies reasonably effectively, or am I missing something?
[Attempt at re-posting as my first post has not appeared]
Was the BetterPrivacy extension for Firefox mentioned? It seems to be aimed at precisely the persistent cookies that you discuss here.
Did you lose your e-mail address book when you lost your laptop?
I did pick up something about this add-in, although whether it was in the talk or in the reading I did afterwards I can't quite remember. The folders that flash uses are documented (in the wikipedia article for example) so you can zap them yourself: it seems the add-in just automates that - I didn't want offer any commentary on an add-in I haven't tried, so comments from people who have are welcome :-)
@FG. I think I know who you are, but I'm guessing - my address book lives on the exchange server so it wasn't lost.