Feeds

Adobe (finally) makes it easier to delete Flash cookies

Privacy menace made manageable

The essential guide to IT transformation

Adobe has finally fixed a privacy weakness that threatened users of its ubiquitous Flash Player: the software's storing of cookie-like files that many websites used to track visitors' behavior against their wishes.

So-called LSOs, or local shared objects, are useful for storing user preferences, such as the preferred sound volume when visiting YouTube, but the Flash feature comes with a dark side. Unscrupulous websites can use them to restore tracking cookies even after a user deliberately deletes them. Files that do this have come to be known as Flash cookies.

Now, developers at Adobe have worked with their counterparts at Mozilla and Google on a programming interface that allows LSOs to be deleted from within the settings panel of compliant browsers. The API, known as NPAPI ClearSiteData, has already been approved for implementation in Firefox. It will soon appear on the Google Chrome dev channel.

Emmy Huang, a Flash Player group project manager who blogged about the change, didn't say if Microsoft or Apple planned to add the feature to Internet Explorer and Safari.

Huang also announced changes that add more LSO control to the Flash Player Settings Manager. The panel allows users to turn off LSO storage altogether, or to customize which sites can or cannot use the feature.

The Flash revamp comes some 17 months after US academics found that a more than 50 percent of websites sampled used LSOs to track their users. They warned the use of Flash cookies threatened user privacy because they were often overlooked and harder to delete. Last year, Walt Disney's internet subsidiary and several of its partners were sued for allegedly using Flash cookies to track highly personal information about their users, many of whom were minors. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
Think crypto hides you from spooks on Facebook? THINK AGAIN
Traffic fingerprints reveal all, say boffins
Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA
Mr Burns vs. The Chocolate Factory, round three!
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.