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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger
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    Leaving long cookie trails throughout the Web




    BEST PRACTICES

    Leaving long cookie trails throughout the Web




    By Susan Bradley

    Web-browsing leaves behind lots of history about what you've done and where you've been online.

    Have you looked at your browser's cookie files lately? You can here's how.


    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/best-practices/leaving-long-cookie-trails-throughout-the-web/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  2. #2
    New Lounger
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    Is there a programmatic way to delete flash cookies? I delete all IE's cookies when I log on to my PC (every morning) with a simple batch file, but I am not sure if I can also just delete what is in ...AppData\ Roaming\Macromedia\FlashPlayer\#SharedObjects.

    I have found cookies useful within the same day, connecting adjacent browing sessions, but am quite happy to re-enter IDs and suchlike the next day. My network address changes each time I re-power the DSL modem (every morning) so I am pretty well protected against tracking except for Flash.
    John Inkle.

  3. #3
    New Lounger
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    I have used Firefox as my preferred browser, and one great AddOn they provide is "BetterPrivacy". This allows you to see those flash cookies in the Macromedia folder and selectively or mass delete them, or set it so it clears them when closing Firefox. I haven't looked too hard but don't recall anything similar for Internet Explorer, but BP clears those too if Firefox is run and closed thereafter.

  4. #4
    New Lounger
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    Question Flash Cookies and NirSoft's FlashCookiesView

    Installed easily and to my surprise, no flash cookies. I didn't even have these turned off in the Flash settings. Not sure why there were none. I use OpenDNS and wonder is this had anything to do with it.

  5. #5
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    For Firefox and Chrome users there's Click&Clean, an add-on which will take care of all the cookies and other temporary storage cleanups you could need to manage. (For IE users, you would need the Click&Clean Desktop application, from HERE .) But you may not find a setting to control which specific cookies or locally stored objects (like Flash Cookies) to keep if you want to keep any. CCleaner also cleans up cookies and local storage locations, but again, keeping specific cookies is a difficult option to set up in that program. CCleaner covers most major browsers. Flash storage is browser independent, except that Firefox has an additional storage location. Hence the usefulness of Better Privacy. Ghostery shows trackers as they appear online (in real time) and allows them to be blocked selectively, as does No Script. For Chrome and Firefox, Abine makes a Privacy Suite , which has good control over what exactly to keep or clean. For Chrome users, Abine makes the ChromeBlock add-on, but their Privacy Apps do not have a Chrome version. (Guess why not!)

    So the whole cookies and local storage issue is actually pretty simple to manage. What is a bit more involved is deciding to keep certain items while discarding others. Not really an issue for me, but some folks like to get logged into their favorite sites automatically, and blocking anything in a business environment may be a problem.

    And yes, Open DNS and most proxy services are designed to redirect many trackers and cookies to dead end locations. This means you lose some site features some places, but your security may be improved a bit. (Think Cross-Site Scripting and Drive-by Downloads) I use Comodo DNS on my Windows XP laptop because it comes with their free firewall, but this service does not dead end trackers.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2011-09-22 at 15:48.
    -- Bob Primak --

  6. #6
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    I've never looked for Flash cookies, but every couple of weeks, I use the online version of Superantispyware, and just set it to scan for tracking cookies - only takes a minute and sometimes finds & deletes quite a lot.
    The same programme has a free version to download that can enable a quick scan on demand daily or whenever.

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