Feeds

The Register Guide on how to stay anonymous (part 2)

The Evercookie: Like trying to kill Steven Seagal

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

How to tackle those hard-to-shift LSOs

If you have been hit by LSOs, zombie cookies or even the evercookie, don’t lose hope. There are techniques available to deal will all levels of browser-initiated privacy invasion.

LSOs either have to be dealt with plugin by plugin, blocked from creation altogether or managed by a dedicated plugin. As with plugins covering the basic privacy vulnerabilities, each browser requires its own tool. Unfortunately, tools to cope with LSOs are not available covering all add-ons in all browsers.

ghostery

Ghostery is a critical tool. While Ghostery does not provide a method to manage your LSOs, and it only manages LSOs from the organisations for which it has profiles, it works across all browsers and can be configured to delete both Flash and Silverlight super cookies when the browser closes.

TACO (Firefox) performs a similar service, but adds in the ability to manage HTML5 DOM objects. Better Privacy (Firefox) handles only Flash and Silverlight cookies, but presents you with a beautiful management interface. It can kill LSOs on command or upon browser exit, and gives you a little popup informing you when a new one has been created.

Click&Clean (Firefox, Chrome) deserves an honourable mention. At the moment, the Chrome version is more advanced than the Firefox version, and it does not support other browsers.

The Chrome version however is quite something special. It is the only in-browser tool I have found that clears Flash and Silverlight cookies, Java cache, Google Gears data, extensions' local storage, traditional browser cookies and SQL databases. This is very close to being not simply an LSO cleaner, but an evercookie killer. (More on that later.)

When in doubt about your ability to nuke existing cookies of all forms, you can always rely on the big guns. Bleach Bit (Linux, Windows) will kill the evercookie. Jeremiah Grossman has information on cleaning Chrome, while Dominic White has you covered in Safari.

In most cases, you shouldn’t have to worry about more than cleaning out Flash and Silverlight LSOs. Most browsers can restrict HTML5 DOM calls in one form or another, and modern browsers by default ask before allowing any third-party HTML5 DOM calls.

Firefox extension manager, Java highlighted

Friends don't let friends enable Java (Click to enlarge)

Java: Just say no

Java is just so unbelievably broken, it's truly irresponsible to put it on any computer that doesn’t absolutely require it. This security threat must be disabled (Firefox, IE, Chrome, Safari, Opera) in every browser, full stop. There is no reason to allow Java to execute from a browser, ever.

If you run an outdated corporate application that absolutely requires Java in a browser, that browser should be viciously locked down and preferably running inside a specially configured and heavily fortified virtual machine. Allowing Java to remain enabled on internet-facing web browsers without some form of click-to-activate security plugin borders on criminal negligence.

So with Java out of the picture, and browsers at least beginning to take care of HTML5 DOM storage, the average user should be able to clean up most third-party cookies. But what if the cookies are placed on your website not by some third-party advertising network, but rather by the very website you are visiting? Infected websites are becoming more and more common, and some websites even use these technologies by choice.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
BitTorrent's peer-to-peer chat app Bleep goes live as public alpha
A good day for privacy as invisble.im also reveals its approach to untraceable chats
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.