How to murder a Flash cookie zombie

Flash cookies can be used to track you across the Web without telling you. Here's how to cut their heads off.


Here you can change Flash's privacy settings for Webcams, how often you're notified when Adobe has updated its Flash Player, where you store DRM licenses, and the like. But it also shows you which sites have deposited Flash cookies and limit how much space they're taking up.

More important, you can tell Flash to stop storing these cookies. Here's how:  Make sure you've selected "Global Storage Settings panel" in the list on the left, find the box that says "Allow third-party Flash content to store data on your computer" and unselect it.

adobe flash settings manager


Want to get rid of the Flash cookies you already have? You'll need to select "Website Storage Settings panel," where you can delete them one by one (if you're like me and have thousands of these suckers, that will take a while) or select the "Delete all sites" option.


delete adobe flash cookies


That's it. Pretty simple really, assuming you can ever get that damned Flash app to load. What happens after that? Good question. Note that nuking your Flash cookies could mean video and other media play at the wrong volume or load more slowly. As an experiment, I deleted the Flash cookie for, and then loaded a video preview from the site. Playback was extremely jumpy -- but whether that was due to the lack of Flash cookies, my Internet connection, browser, or the phase of the moon is kind of impossible to determine.

So, as usual, you should assume there's a cost associated with increasing your privacy. Kind of like killing zombies -- it's hard to do it without getting brains all over you.

UPDATE: Shortly after this post appeared I heard from Joe Malley, the attorney who's suing the pants off NBC, Disney, et al for using Flash zombie cookies. He'd like to hear from aggrieved users about other sites that use this technology to track them. Email him at his gmail address, malleylaw@. And if you end up getting a nice check from a class action settlement, please remember who sent ya.

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