Locally Shared Objects
A locally shared object is similar to a cookie, but much larger. Also called Flash Cookies, they store information needed to run Adobe Flash Player. If you have Flash installed and running in your browser, you have locally shared objects on your computer now.
“You have locally shared objects on your computer right now”
Reducing the Risks of Locally Shared Objects
Locally shared objects are not cookies, and are not treated as such. Depending on your perspective, this can be a feature. Many web developers use locally shared objects for this very reason; they are difficult to block. Many times, they are tied into the settings for standard cookies.
So what happens if you turn off cookies and locally shared objects? The internet becomes much less useful. Some features are pretty minor, such as no longer saving auto-fill features or settings. More frustrating, E-commerce doesn’t work at all without cookies because the shopping cart is built on cookies. Worst, you can’t even log into accounts without cookies. This is why if you do try to disable cookies, you get a warning from your browser.
Okay, so if turning off everything is not a great idea, can you protect yourself from these larger cookies that expose more of your data? Yes! I wish I could limit how large these cookies could be by blocking locally shared objects without blocking cookies. Still, one advantage of the movement towards combining the settings is that it is now much easier to remove locally shared objects. Simply by clearing your browser’s cookies now removes everything. The trick is to remember to do it.
Locally shared objects are difficult to block, but they can be deleted