With the internet, there is a cross in the road that every developer meets.
Which way the developer goes when they reach this cross road in the road all depends on their personal ethics.
They must determine if they are a person that respects the boundaries of others or whether they think that they know what is best for the person that is coming to their web site and they will abuse their privacy in the name of better service.
The cross in the road that we speak of is if a developer is going to use the technology that is available to him to invade your privacy and use it in the service of the web site.
In this article I will take a look at cookies and see how they work.
I will also take a look at the worse type of computer cookie of all.
This cookie is known as LSO and it can be the one that will most likely invade your privacy.
What Is A cookie?
You have probably already figured out that I am not talking about the cookies that are in your kitchen pantry.
No, I am talking about a different type of cookie; one that is stored from the server of the web site that you are visiting in to your computer in a place that most people will never see.
It takes a special setting in the browser that you are using to be able to get rid of the cookie.
The reason why the web site that you are visiting will put the cookie on your computer is complicated.
To put it in layman’s terms, they want to be able to see some of the decisions that you have made on the web site so that they can show them to you.
For example, when you are purchasing an item online, you place the item in what is known as a shopping cart but just because you place the item in the shopping cart does not mean that you have finished shopping for the day.
No, there is more stuff that you want to be able to look at on the site and you place the item in the cart ready as more of a reminder for when you are ready to check out.
The web site is able to remember the selection that you made because they placed a cookie in your system to help them remember it.
There are other ways to go about doing an action like this but they are a lot less effective.
As with most technology that is out there, it is not the tech itself that is harmful but how people use it.
There are a lot of ways that the cookie of web surfing is abused every day.
I am going to discuss one of these methods now.
The Dangers Of LSO Cookies
As I said earlier in the article, there are many types of cookies that can be set in the computer of a user.
One of these cookies is known as an LSO cookie.
The letters LSO stand for Locally Shared Object.
These types are mainly found in flash files.
Flash is a technology that is used by many web site developers to make the content on the site more interactive.
The reason why the LSO type of cookie is dangerous is because you do not have the option of whether it is installed on your computer or not.
When you install a version of Flash onto your system, you are automatically going to store an LSO cookie as well.
The only way that you can avoid this is by not using Flash, meaning that you are going to miss out on a lot of web content.
Now the problem with the LSO cookie being on your computer is that any web site can read the information on them.
With the right Flash run time on their web site, all of that information that you might have picked up with other web sites using LSO is now available for anyone to see.
In recent versions of Flash they have tried to stop this but attackers are still able to see the web sites that you have visited recently.
Even with that little bit of information an attack pattern can be configured by a smart black hat hacker.
The technology behind cookies is not bad within itself but it can be used for some evil purposes.
Make sure that you are aware of what this technology can do and you might be able to protect yourself.