Secret Cookie Stash in Adobe Flash Plug-In

I recently tidied up my "Documents and Settings" folder and came across some unusual files (*.sol).

It turns out that these are cookies placed by Flash movies which have run through the plug-in in a browser or through the stand alone player. This only happens in the newest version (v8) of the plug-in.

The nasty thing about these cookies is that I never realised that they were there!

Being an over-conscious web user, I occasionally check my browser cookies and delete the cookies I deem not welcome on my computer (cookies used for advertising, web-tracking, etc). But now it seems that Flash unobtrusively places cookies outside of the browser without letting you know!

Read on to see how you can take control of the situation.

Clean up

So how do you get rid of those nasty cookie crumbs?

You have a couple of options:

  1. Delete every *.sol file you find under your %HOMEDRIVE%%HOMEPATH%Application DataMacromediaFlash Player folder (Windows only).
  2. Set up the Flash plug-in to globally deny the storing of cookies on your PC: [Link to Global Shared Object settings]
  3. Set up the Flash plug-in to specifically deny the storing of cookies by a particular site: [Link to Site-Specific Shared Object settings]
  4. Use the Flash Player settings manager to delete all cookies and shared objects from all the sites you have visited: [Link to Site-Specific Shared Object settings]

Normally I don’t mind too much: but with all those Flash banner ads on websites these days, I can’t help but wonder if some ad agency is tracking my surfing behaviour without my consent.

Seeing as I have no control over what happens to this data, and that it may contain material that could cause problems for me in the future (yes, I’m sometimes naughty on the interwebs); I’d rather block out these cookies than be harassed later on!