Rise of the Super Cookie

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More internet privacy debates have been sparked after Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt claimed that you can simply use Chrome’s “incognito mode” to avoid being “tracked by federal and state authorities”.

As reported here by Forbes.

Sam Greenhalgh, a British researcher, has shown that not only can ISP’s, websites and governments performing surveillance see users traffic in incognito mode, but that some “super cookies” are apparently indestructible.


“Almost unstoppable”


I asked Mark James, our resident security specialist, about super cookies and their possible impact.

“Super cookies are a lot harder to clear than ordinary cookies because of the way they are stored, because of that it is generally frowned upon to use them as the everyday person will struggle to clear or remove them.

“Let’s hope we will see in time browsers that will specifically help in detecting and removing them but at the moment it would seem they are almost unstoppable,” Mark explains.

Mark worries that this “will help malware and dodgy sites to use [super cookies] for all the wrong reasons, using things like incognito mode will mask your activity at the endpoint, it’s not going to stop ISP’s, governments, or similar agencies from seeing what data is sent to your machine in the first place, that’s completely different!”

Mark goes on to say that “online privacy is a sensitive matter, cookies can be used (and rightly so) to track bad people doing bad things but as with most things it can also be used to track you and where you have been and in some cases be used for malware or advertising purposes.”

Mark says that “that sometimes we have to just accept that one goes hand in hand with the other.”

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Do you use incognito mode to try and avoid being tracked? How private do you think your information is online?