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The Attack of the Flash “Zombie Cookies”

stack of smiling gingerbread cookiesIn August a lawsuit was filed against Specificmedia, a media company that targets and delivers specific audiences to advertisers. In the suit filed by privacy attorney Joseph Malley in California’s Central District federal court, the company was accused of “Zombie Cookie” practices, re-creating visitor’s cookies even though they had been deleted.

According to the Wired story Ad Firm Sued for Allegedly Re-Creating Deleted Cookies, “At issue is the use of Adobe Flash to keep copies of a user’s browser cookies in order to re-spawn cookies after users clear them. . . Unlike traditional browser cookies, Flash cookies are relatively unknown to web users, and they are not controlled through the cookie privacy controls in a browser. That means even if a user thinks they have cleared their computer of tracking objects, they most likely have not.”

Though most browsers let you set your cookie controls fairly easily, the Flash cookie controls are located within Flash itself. Instructions for adjusting your Flash settings can be found in the Flash Player Help for the Global Privacy and Website Privacy settings.

Firefox users can find help with the add-on BetterPrivacy, which includes more explanation about Flash cookies. In addition, Abine also offers privacy add-ons.

Posted in Fall 2010 Edition, Safe Computing | Comments Off on In the News: