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Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer

 
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 658758
United States
05/18/2009 09:11 PM
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Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
I'm kinda pissed at the moment...

[link to www.sevenforums.com]

There are hundreds of applications out there from flowers cleaners to built-in browser features that eliminate cookies on the spot, and even let you set cookie policies on your computer regarding what can be stored in your machine, and for how long. I’m assuming that if you’re here reading this post, you already know all of the dangers of cookies on your computer. In all honesty, I don’t seriously believe that they’re the most dangerous form of movement or web tracking, but they can definitely be used to monitor more movements than a person should feel comfortable with.
What if there was a type of cookie that could:

* Stay on your computer for an unlimited amount of time
* Store 100 kb of data by default, with an unlimited max
* Couldn’t be deleted by your browser
* Send previous visit information and history, by default, without your permission

Okay… That’s a pretty scary cookie. As it is right now, the cookies we’re so deadly afraid of can store a maximum of 4 kb of information, are manage by your browser, and by default have reasonable defaults and restrictions.
This type of cookie exists on 98% of global computers, across all operating systems. it’s the Adobe Flash Player.

The Adobe Flash Player maintains proprietary cookies called Local Shared Objects or LSO’s. LSO’s are capable of storing 100 kb’s of information for an indefinite amount of time by default. When you clear your browser history in Internet Explorer, Firefox or Opera on Windows, Linux, or OS X LSO’s are not cleared from Adobe’s local repository.
In fact, all the information in those cookies will remain indefinitely until they’re removed by the issuing website, or by you via a cumbersome and ridiculous process.
Unfortunately, I haven’t even explained the worst of it.
There’s no easy way to tell what sites are using flash cookies to track your movements. There’s no list, and there doesn’t have to be a flash GUI or visible application for flash cookies to be present. In fact, most websites using flash for user tracking don’t create GUI’s, toolbars, or applications that you can actually see in your browser while browsing the site.
Many times a tiny flash module, 2 kb in size or less is loaded into your browser on every page visit in the same way a gif, jpg or other image is. The whole purpose of this tiny, invisible flash module might be to simply record the page request, and your username or other session variables.
Alright, so now you’re sufficiently convinced that this is creepy stuff. Let’s talk about how to get rid of it?
Lame as it might be, the Flash Player has no ability to delete cookies. And as I’ve already said, your browser can’t help you out. It doesn’t even know these cookies exist! Most of the privacy settings for Adobe Flash have be accessed via a flash application on Adobe’s website called the Adobe Flash Player Settings Manager.
If you want to access the Settings Manager, you can do so here. In fact, open it up now and let’s take a look.
If you’ve clicked the link above, then you’re looking at the Flash Player Settings Manager, and a list of all the sites currently storing information on the cookies stored on your computer.
Looking at my list, I see over 100 websites that have been accessing the same cookie for the last year (the last time I formatted my computer). Some of them are storing only 1kb of information, some are storing the full 100 kb’s. On my own computer, I see that my bank is storing flash information despite the fact that there isn’t a single flash application visible when I log in to check my balance. I see Youtube, CNN, Microsoft, Rotten Tomatoes and a ton more!
To delete all the Flash Cookies currently being stored on your machine:

1. Go to the Settings Manager (Website Storage Settings)
2. Go to the far-right tab
3. Click “Delete all sites”

To prevent websites from storing any more information on your computer:

1. Go to Settings Manager
2. Click the Second Tab from the left (Global Storage Settings)
3. Set the Storage Settings slider to None
4. Uncheck “Allow Third Party Flash Content to store data on your computer

There are several other “privacy” settings on the other tabs, but don’t be persuaded. Most of those privacy settings have to do with whether or not websites can access your microphone and webcam. There isn’t a single cookie option on any of the privacy tabs on the Settings Manager.
Adobe, as a global leader in browser technology (a 98% computer market share), has a responsibility to make Privacy Options easily accessible from within the Player application itself. They also have a responsibility to set reasonble default limitations. It’s ridiculous that they would enable websites to store cookies indefinitely, and in such large sizes.

[link to www.macromedia.com]

[link to www.imasuper.com]
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 625211
United States
05/18/2009 09:13 PM
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Re: Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
The real "killer" about Adobe Flash is all the conflicts it creates.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 602465
United States
05/18/2009 09:31 PM
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Re: Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
THANK YOU for the info. I was unaware that this existed. Not a good thing. BUT....


I am trying to delete the websites (YIKES, there were a lot of them) and the website has just stalled and will not respond. I have clicked the "confirm" button to no avail.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 602465
United States
05/18/2009 09:36 PM
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Re: Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
WHEW! It finally worked. This is an important thread, a bump for you. Thanks again. bump
Wraith1970

User ID: 681551
United States
05/18/2009 09:47 PM
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Re: Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
bump

Alot of stuff in there.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 672714
United States
05/18/2009 09:57 PM
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Re: Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
1. Go to the Settings Manager (Website Storage Settings)
2. Go to the far-right tab
3. Click “Delete all sites”

To prevent websites from storing any more information on your computer:

1. Go to Settings Manager
2. Click the Second Tab from the left (Global Storage Settings)
3. Set the Storage Settings slider to None
4. Uncheck “Allow Third Party Flash Content to store data on your computer

Perhaps they could tell us exactly where this is?
Settings manager in WHAT???
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 625211
United States
05/18/2009 09:58 PM
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Re: Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
1. Go to the Settings Manager (Website Storage Settings)
2. Go to the far-right tab
3. Click “Delete all sites”

To prevent websites from storing any more information on your computer:

1. Go to Settings Manager
2. Click the Second Tab from the left (Global Storage Settings)
3. Set the Storage Settings slider to None
4. Uncheck “Allow Third Party Flash Content to store data on your computer

Perhaps they could tell us exactly where this is?
Settings manager in WHAT???
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 672714



Go here: [link to www.macromedia.com]
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 672714
United States
05/18/2009 10:09 PM
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Re: Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
Oh that thanks.
Where are these actually stored on your computer?
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 682262
United States
05/18/2009 10:12 PM
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Re: Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
awesome thread! ty!

banana2
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 672714
United States
05/18/2009 10:17 PM
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Re: Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
It is here.

C:\Documents and Settings\*YOU*\Application Data\Macromedia\Flash Player\macromedia.com\support\flashplayer\sys

C:\Documents and Settings\*YOU*\Application Data\Macromedia\Flash Player\#SharedObjects\
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 672714
United States
05/18/2009 10:23 PM
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Re: Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
They have .SOL files in there that can be opened with.
SolVE
[link to solve.sourceforge.net]
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 684071
United States
05/24/2009 07:03 PM
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Re: Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
I also suggest using ATF CLEANER, found here
[link to www.atribune.org]
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 618285
United States
05/24/2009 07:32 PM
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Re: Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
i think i found it

[link to www.macromedia.com]
Boston T. Party

User ID: 686678
United States
05/24/2009 07:36 PM
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Re: Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
If you look at the sys folder, even after removing all cookies with the online manager, the folders with the site names still remain. NOT GOOD! This means that even after removing the cookies, they can still tell which sites you have been too.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 618285
United States
05/24/2009 07:37 PM
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Re: Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
interesting. glp is on the list. stored 4mb
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 239210
Canada
05/24/2009 07:40 PM
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Re: Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
Just delete the entire macromedia folder. The folder will re-appear every time you you connect in a new flash session.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 618285
United States
05/24/2009 07:46 PM
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Re: Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
i think i found it

[link to www.macromedia.com]
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 618285



my list was huge.

got it off and changed setting to disallow all.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 239210
Canada
05/24/2009 07:51 PM
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Re: Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
Some websites do require 3'rd party cookies. For example, live streaming sites that use camera's etc

Better to not disable it. Just delete the macromedia folder after your done with the flash site and you'll have less problems.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 585165
United States
05/24/2009 08:55 PM
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Re: Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
anyone know where this is stored on computer ...using vista...have "shockwave log" but cannot open...
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 239210
Canada
05/24/2009 08:59 PM
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Re: Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
anyone know where this is stored on computer ...using vista...have "shockwave log" but cannot open...
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 585165


First you have to enable Hidden files and folders.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 239210
Canada
05/24/2009 09:00 PM
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Re: Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
anyone know where this is stored on computer ...using vista...have "shockwave log" but cannot open...


First you have to enable Hidden files and folders.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 239210


Enable 'SHOW' Hidden files and folders.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 585165
United States
05/24/2009 09:02 PM
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Re: Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
anyone know where this is stored on computer ...using vista...have "shockwave log" but cannot open...


First you have to enable Hidden files and folders.


Enable 'SHOW' Hidden files and folders.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 239210

have that done..I'm only one using this computer so always have this setting..
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 239210
Canada
05/24/2009 09:08 PM
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Re: Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
\Users\<user
name>\AppData\LocalLow\Macromedia\
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 585165
United States
05/24/2009 09:08 PM
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Re: Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
anyone know where this is stored on computer ...using vista...have "shockwave log" but cannot open...


First you have to enable Hidden files and folders.


Enable 'SHOW' Hidden files and folders.

have that done..I'm only one using this computer so always have this setting..
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 585165

thanks OP for the heads up ...just deleted all the sites and they were many..

I never trust these programs but you need them... always figure they can turn on the mic and the build in cam even though they "need" my permission....
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 585165
United States
05/24/2009 09:14 PM
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Re: Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
\Users\<user
name>\AppData\LocalLow\Macromedia\
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 239210

I got that far there are 9 folders: 1.Direct sound ...9. Textxtra
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 585165
United States
05/24/2009 09:22 PM
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Re: Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
\Users\<user
name>\AppData\LocalLow\Macromedia\

I got that far there are 9 folders: 1.Direct sound ...9. Textxtra
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 585165

Forget post above that was download folder....i got folder "shockwave player" inside that xtras folder wich goes to 9 folders above

it has the shockwave log which as i said above can't read..

.I guess I'm out of luck finding a file I can see the stored data
9teen.47™

User ID: 686716
United Kingdom
05/24/2009 09:34 PM
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Re: Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
bump
Zec 12:3 And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
Psa 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, [and] all the nations that forget God.
Jer 6:2 I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate [woman].
STOCK UP NOW. You should have at least 6 months worth of basics for every member of your household. Stay away from crowds when trouble starts, do not forget water storage, tobacco is worth more than gold or silver, and be kind to hungry children.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 497373
Canada
05/24/2009 09:51 PM
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Re: Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
\Users\<user
name>\AppData\LocalLow\Macromedia\

I got that far there are 9 folders: 1.Direct sound ...9. Textxtra

Forget post above that was download folder....i got folder "shockwave player" inside that xtras folder wich goes to 9 folders above

it has the shockwave log which as i said above can't read..

.I guess I'm out of luck finding a file I can see the stored data
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 585165



If you are using Firefox for a your web browser simply install the "Better Privacy" addon for your version of Firefox and it will delete the LSO's after each session.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 686768
United States
05/24/2009 10:07 PM
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Re: Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
Deleted
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 686762
United States
05/24/2009 10:54 PM
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Re: Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
i think i found it

[link to www.macromedia.com]
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 618285


I went to the site, but it won't display the Settings panel. Twice I tried loading the page. No go.
.
Bean There
User ID: 684877
United States
05/25/2009 08:21 AM
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Re: Adobe Flash Cookies: The Silent Privacy Killer
Thanks for the heads up. Glad I use Crap Cleaner several times per work day. It does clear these annoyances. Now th check the other folder stuff.

Thanks again all.





GLP