capsule review

BetterPrivacy

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder BetterPrivacy

Firefox add-on BetterPrivacy can get rid of privacy-busting Flash cookies, also known as local shared objects or LSOs, which are used by many sites to supplement the normal HTTP cookies. Flash cookies can be used for similar things as HTTP cookies, including saving preferences and tracking where you surf, but you can't delete Flash cookies using basic browser options like you can with regular cookies.

Even if you're already cookie-savvy, BetterPrivacy can add a level of security in an area you might not have considered. One study found that some advertisers use the persistent Flash cookies to re-create deleted HTTP cookies. So you might think you're protecting your privacy by regularly deleting cookies, but sneaky sites can use the information in Flash cookies to put the deleted HTTP cookies right back in place.

The straightforward BetterPrivacy add-on automatically determines where the LSOs exist on your hard drive, and can be set to automatically delete them when the browser starts or exits, or after a certain amount of time. By default the add-on will display a small confirmation pop-up when you close the browser before it deletes anything.

If you're concerned about maintaining your privacy online and you use Firefox, then you'll want BetterPrivacy.

Note: This link takes you to the Mozilla.org add-on site, where you can automatically install Better Privacy into your Firefox browser.

--Erik Larkin

To comment on this article and other PCWorld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder BetterPrivacy

Related:
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.