Watching you silently – Flash Cookies / LSOs

Many internet web sites like http://www.rediffmail.com, http://www.yahoo.com and so on, have switched over to authentication pop up windows. These are created using Flash. When you signed on earlier, you were asked to enter your User ID and Password, on an HTML page, and you were dead sure that your surfing habits were watched using a mechanism called cookies in conventional browsers. You could locate and manage these cookies in any web browser fairly easily. However, with the switch to Flash based authentication, you do not get a chance to see these cookies.

These cookies are stores as LSO (Library System Objects) with the .sol file extension. SOL also equates to Shared Object Libraries. These are stored in the .macromedia folder on your system. And a smart move was to name these files starting with #. When you try to display their contents on the command line, you are automatically redirected to your home folder. Amazing, isn’t it?

Open these .sol files using a binary / hex editor only, and you see that the information that went into the conventional cookie, is all available there. So, you see, you are still fully tracked and you are not even AWARE of it. There is a fundamental difference here. Being aware and not being aware.

Used the BetterPrivacy plugin to remove these cookies earlier. I have not seen any plug-ins for Internet Explorer. Since you can do a file search for *.sol, you would be able to locate these files and delete them, if you do not have a plug-in like BetterPrivacy. Unfortunately, some banks too seem to be using these on their login or sign-on pages served on the internet.

BetterPrivacy being no more, this post has been rendered obsolete. After EU GDPR, I don’t care about cookies any more. https://www.i-dont-care-about-cookies.eu/

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