Skip to comments.Flash Cookies explained (most users don't understand this)
Posted on 09/11/2011 9:21:48 AM PDT by Texas Fossil
Flash cookies are a new way of tracing your movement and storing a lot more information about you than with normal cookies. One major disadvantage of flash cookies is that you cant locate them in your browser. They are not shown in the list of cookies that you can see when you take a look at the cookies that are currently saved in your web browser. Normal HTTP cookies cant save more than 4 Kilobyte of data while Flash cookies can save up to 100 Kilobyte. If you want to try out how they work you could do the following.
Go to Youtube, increase or decrease the volume of the videos and delete all cookies afterwards. You will notice that the volume level is still at the same level when you close your browser and open it again. This is done with so called Local Shared Objects, better known as Flash cookies. The main question is of course how a computer can be checked for Flash cookies and how it would be possible to delete those cookies again.
This is actually a very tricky thing. I was searching for a way to check them on my computer but could not find it. After reading some information on the Adobe Flash Player website I was able to realize that the only possibility to check them was to open a page on the Adobe site which would show them.
The so called Settings Manager can be accessed from the Adobe website but is running locally on your computer. The Website Storage Settings display all Flash cookies that are currently saved on your computer. You can delete flash cookies from individual sites or all at once. It is also possible to increase or decrease the Kilobyte size of all information that are stored on your computer.
Adobe does not have access to the settings that you see in the Settings Manager or to personal information on your computer.
No Flash Cookies will be saved if you go into Global Storage Settings and disable the option Allow third-party Flash content to store data on your computer.
47 websites did store Flash cookies on my computer and I decided to delete all of them and disable the feature to be on the safe site. Did you know about Flash cookies ? How many did you find on your pc ?
I have been using a plug-in for Firefox called "BetterPrivacy" that I like. It will easily remove the Flash or LSO cookies.
Yep me too.. I am trying out Chrome since FF turns into such a memory hog, how does it handle flash cookies?
If you are a Firefox user, there is a free Add-On called “Ghostery”, works very well in blocking these types of creepy tracking schemes.
“Flash & Silverlight Cookies
Also called locally stored objects or LSOs, these cookies are stored in a different location than your normal browser cookies. If enabled, Ghostery will delete cookies from companies in our library when you close Firefox. “
these are the so-called supercookies
I use windows explorer. Thanks for posting.
Are these the cookies that show an ad for a web site that I have visited, while looking at another site? If so, it’s pretty creepy. Is there a way to defeat this if using IE? Thanks.
Alright, I have a totally irrelevant story for this thread.
Last week my mother and a couple of her sisters visited my very old grandmother. While there, they decided to help her by cleaning her house.
The woman saves every single piece of mail that she has ever been sent. One of my aunts was trying to sort it and she came across a flyer for a product to remove cookies from your computer.
My grandmother refused to let her throw it away. “What if somebody asks me to make computer cookies for their office party? What if somebody needs the recipe? There are a LOT of people who would love computer cookies!”
After fifteen minutes of trying to explain what computer cookies were, and my grandmother stubbornly refusing to grasp the concept, my aunt patiently allowed her to file the flyer in her recipe box.
This one’s for you......
Thanks for the tip on Ghostery. Just downloaded it to my Firefox browser.
Ping for later review.
hee hee hee
I am using Firefox 5.0 under Xubuntu 11.4
I have had no problems with Firefox on this machine, and like the plug-in which removes the LSO cookies after each session.
Now that I’ve got Ghostery up and running on my FF browser, I keep seeing an alert for Google Analytics while perusing FR. I don’t know enough about Google Analytics to choose whether to block it or not. Your thoughts?
I am not sure about what to do with IE. I simply don’t use it.
This machine has an Xubuntu 11.4 OS.
You can always install Firefox and the “BetterPrivacy” plug-in. And not use IE.
WOW ! My computer is 4 years old and I use it often. I regularly clean out the junk but never deleted these super cookies. I just performed the task and my computer speed picked up significantly.
Thanks for the post.
I see that warning about flash settings, approve/deny, every time I start a video. Using Opera now, same annoying thing as in Firefox.
I stopped using Firefox recently due to another video related (possibly Flash related) problem: every time I watched a video, the Windows clock went haywire, losing time by hours or even days. Finally I concluded that the Firefox “plug-incontainer” was implicated, and things got a little better when it was closed using Task Manager, but still the clock was crazy and the browser was slow; low on memory notices kept popping up.
This had been going on for many months. Switched to Opera. Videos got better, clock behaved itself a little better. Then one day I got lucky: a power failure. When the computer came back on and got itself dusted off and re-groomed, it was “January 1, 2001.” (Actual date, 2010!) I restarted. Never had another problem with the clock or any video.
Still, I am very leery of Flash, Adobe in general, and its mysterious cookie settings. Some sites (not youtube) will show the alert but the approve/deny buttons aren’t clickable. Usually the deny thing takes several clicks and must be repeated every time the volume function is touched. If I knew how I would prevent that approve/deny window from ever appearing. It is up to no good.
Conclusions: Adobe, Firefox, me no like. Way fewer popups and glitches with Opera. It is also much faster than FF and doesn’t have an evil companion like FF’s plug-incontainer.
Fossil, thanks for this thread. It will take time to absorb but I know I’m going to learn something useful!
Do you have a link for where to fnd this settings device?
I frequently see Google Analytics pop when navigating around the internet, even when Google (seemingly) shouldn’t be involved. Like when I clicked on this thread the little “waiting for” window popped up with Google Analytics, then FreeRepublic. All I can figure is that Google offers some kind of service that website owners can use to gather statistics about traffic on their site.
How did you do that?
I added Ghostery plug-in.
Will soon see how useful it is.
How do you get rid of the super flash cookies on IE?
Hopefully you will actually get some cookies out of the deal, and get to spend a little quality time.
Flash is on the way out, to be replaced by HTML5. The sooner the better!
I do not trust Adobe’s motives. Never have.
As far as HTML5, I am not up to speed on that.
The problem I see today with OS’s and Apps is they are all rebuilding something that is not broken. Most of the features that are added to the apps are seldom used, but force everyone to upgrade software.
It is not about building a better mousetrap, but perpetuating a revenue string.
I'm already finding what sort of flash cookies are on other websites. I had to block maybe 8 from Drudge, and just now, another 10 or so from Yahoo.
When I downloaded Ghostery, I elected to have the active 'bubble' show in my browser window, instead of just letting it run in the background. Good thing, too. I would have never seen all those flash cookies.
How old is the computer?
Typically, your computer's BIOS settings are kept in a small battery-backed RAM chip. If the battery dies (typically after five years or so), and you lose all external power, the settings revert to factory values. It sounds like your BIOS backup battery has gone dead, and you had improper BIOS settings which got reset as a result of the power failure. That would account for the improvement in your machine's operation.
If you need customized settings for some reason, you should replace the BIOS battery. It's usually a small watch battery held onto your mother board by a clip.
That's exactly what it does, as the name implies. Very useful for website owners. My wife has it enabled on our business website.
That said, I still don't know all that much about how it affects my machine, or if it tracks me any further than whatever website it's sitting on.
I like it storing my volume settings. Sometimes stuff is just convenient.
“...to open a page on the Adobe site which would show them.”
How do you actually do this? I went to Adobe and could not find it. Also tried to find it on my hard drive and could not find it. Any help would be appreciated.
Do these store account information, INSTEAD of regular first-party cookies? Or are these an added bonus headache?
Or are these a ‘work around’ for having blocked all third-party cookies; and are strictly for ad targeting etc?
If I delete them, have I then lost my automatic account recognition/auto-sign-in recognition at shopping/banking sites?
Thanks for posting this.
Thank you cynwoody, I will definitely get that done soon! The computer is seriously old, it’s an xp and though I have newer models, it is like a pair of old slippers. Whenever I try to get used to a new computer, it winds up in a closet or is given away.
Even got used to that clock nonsense — fixing it several times a day. It’s working fine since the power failure...but why, I’m not sure I understand. If the battery’s dead, and the BIOS settings now work with a dead battery, what was the point of the battery?
Exactly right. At the bottom of the current page is the urchinTracker:
Did you ever wonder why Google is so good at staying on top of FR content? I mean, somebody will post some errant nonsense, and you will be moved to Google it on the off chance it isn't BS. So, you do, and the number #1 hit is the post you were just looking at. BS confirmed! I've had that exact experience a number of times.
It appears the Google spider takes a look every time the urchin squawks.
Unsurprisingly most of my cookies were from porn sites.
Set it up to block everything. Google is the biggest culprit.
The battery powers a small memory that keeps track of settings you may have made in the BIOS configuration (During a boot, hit DEL or F1 or whatever when prompted to get into the configuration menu). The settings are a mixture of trivial stuff, such as whether you want the Num Lock key on by default, and critical stuff, such as boot sequence, memory timings, etc. One other use of that memory, as you found out, is to store the current time across boots. If that memory loses power (battery dead, no external power), then the BIOS uses factory defaults and tries to sense the environment as best it can.
In the old days, if you lost the BIOS battery, the computer typically would not boot. That was because things like the disk drive characteristics were stored in the BIOS, and the BIOS needs that information to access the hard drive. To boot, you needed to dig out the manual(s) and input the proper settings by hand (much harder than fixing date/time). These days, the BIOS is able to talk to the disk drive controller and figure out those settings on its own.
Version 7 of firefox is fixing a major memory leak, it should be coming out in a couple weeks
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