Recently I came across something called LSO cookies (read about it, I’m not going to explain them in detail here). Since more and more browsers, virus scanners and security software block cookies, these LSO cookies are a real treat for advertisers and tracking companies for several reason:
- most people never heard of them
- they are difficult to block
- they provide lots of storage (100KB per site)
- they are not removed by your browser, ever
- they work and track you, even with your browsers “privacy mode”
There are several dangers to these cookies. First and foremost, we block cookies for a reason. We don’t want to be tracked everywhere on the web and we don’t want companies to build profiles of our web usage for whatever reasons they have. These companies shamelessly track us anyway by using all kinds of tricks, like these LSO cookies, instead of respecting our explicit choice to not be tracked and monitored.
Another problem is that this will leave tracks of your Internet usage on your computer, even if you try to cover those tracks by deleting cookies, browser cache and temporary files.
So what can we do about this?
First of all, the best thing would be to not use flash but that ain’t an option. (We want our youtube to work!). So the second best option is to block or at least remove the cookies. There is an excellent Firefox plugin called Better Privacy that will give you all kinds of options to remove or block LSO cookies.
If you don’t have Firefox, your third option is to go to Abobe’s Flash player settings page – you never heard of it, neither did I – and set the storage space to zero KB. Next, go to the last tab there or use this link, and be amazed at the amount of sites that use LSO cookies to store whatever they want to store on your PC. Next, click the remove all button to remove it all. Note that setting the storage to zero prevents sites from storing cookies, but Flash will still create directories for each site that tries. So next time you visit that shameful pr0n site, be aware that Flash will keep track of it.