• December 2009
    M T W T F S S
    « Aug   Feb »
  • Advertisements

Blocking Flash Cookies (and Improved Security with Gnash)

A couple of months ago, I wrote about some simple tests that showed the lack of privacy in Chrome’s Incognito mode, and Firefox’s Private Browsing. Both browsers boast a privacy setting that will not save any of your surfing activity on your computer. That is, any activity that doesn’t produce a flash cookie. Most flash websites that I’ve been to save cookies on your computer, regardless of the browser’s privacy options.

A recent episode of FLOSS featured Rob Savoye talking about his Open Source port of Flash, Gnash. On Rob’s Blog, I found an excellent post on how to block Flash cookies on your computer. Here are the steps to block Flash cookies:

1. Browse to Adobe Flash Player Settings Manager.
2. Click on “Global Storage Settings Panel” in the left navigation menu.
3. Uncheck “Allow Third Party Flash Content to store data on your computer”.

According to Rob’s post, you shouldn’t mess with the other Privacy options in here.

An interesting side note to this blog is Gnash itself. Gnash is a completely Open Source and free project aimed at being a replacement for Adobe’s proprietary Flash player. Gnash can run stand alone Flash files, as well as be a browser plugin. Perhaps the most attractive reason to maybe switch to Gnash is that Gnash rarely suffers from the same security holes as Adobe’s Flash, as these holes tend to be due to the implementation of Flash, and not the format, according to Rob. Gnash works on almost all platforms, including Windows, Mac, and Linux, as well as plenty of other more obscure architectures. Gnash also has a significantly larger performance improvement over Adobe’s Flash in terms of CPU processing. There even exists a port of Gnash for Android!