Rated 5 out of 5 stars
The author made the following statement in the above article:
"------------------------- IMPORTANT -------------------------
IF YOU PERMIT DELETION OF LSO's,
THEN COOKIE-STORED INFORMATION LIKE
GAME SETTINGS OR LOGIN DATA (YAHOO SEAL)
MIGHT BE LOST! MAKE SURE THAT YOU EXCLUDED
IMPORTANT COOKIES FROM DELETION (SEE FAQ)"
When playing Flash games online, he is correct, the settings for that session are stored in the LSO files. However, on sites other than gaming sites, this is not an issue, and neither is staying logged in on sites where log-in is necessary. Log-in info is the job of session cookies, and not Flash cookies (LSOs). In a previous comment, I detailed an experiment I did with LSO deletion. What I neglected to mention was that I went to several sites where log-in was required (Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Blogspot, etc. to name a few), and I had no problem logging in or remaining logged in after the LSOs were deleted. It was only when I deleted the session cookies for a particular site that problems arose. Deleting the session cookies for a blog site, for instance, immediately logs the user off the site and makes it necessary to log in again. Deleting the Flash cookie, or LSO, does not affect the ability to remain logged in, and it doesn't affect one's ability to navigate the site. The short answer, then, is that the author's statement is only true on game sites.
Also, I wish to modify my earlier statement about searching one's computer for the locations of LSO files to include the following statement:
If the user has any games installed on his or her hard drive, the directories containing the game will contain dozens of LSOs. That is normal. They are not LSOs that have been downloaded by Web sites. The LSOs in game directories are placed there by the DVD or CD that contained the game. Those LSOs do not, as far as I know, send any information to any online location unless you are playing the game online. In that case, additional LSOs will be installed that facilitate the playing of the game. The LSOs that were created by the installation CD or DVD are for the purpose of storing session information, info about where the gamer left off at the end of the previous session, scores, etc. As far as I have been able to determine, those particular LSOs are not a threat to the user's privacy and can be ignored. Any LSOs downloaded during online gaming, however, should be deleted after the gaming session, unless the gamer plans to return to the site in the near future to continue a session, challenge someone else, etc.
The truth is, LSOs have too much potential for misuse. They are, after all, for all intents and purposes, Trojan Horses of a different colour. That's where the real danger lies with cookies, especially Flash cookies with the ability to store and "phone home" huge amounts of data about the user.
The biggest difference between the functions of Trojan Horses and those of Flash cookies is that Flash cookies raise no alerts from anti-virus or even malware/spyware detectors. That gives them an extremely dangerous potential on several levels; and those dangers should be addressed and dealt with by anti-virus and other security software developers. In fact, it would be a good project for Mozilla developers or the person who created BetterPrivacy. Such detection and prevention capability could and should be included in the next release of Firefox and Thunderbird. Microsoft won't bother, because they are, after all, now in bed with government agencies that seek to ignore and eliminate our rights to privacy; so a BHO add-on for IE would have to be developed by a "third party" for those who insist upon using IE as their primary browser or for those who use IE to visit Web sites that do not display correctly in Firefox--an Active X control, perhaps.
Are you listening, Mozilla?