Samy Kamkar, an open source developer whose motto is "think bad, do good" has released an API called "evercookie." Evercookie sets a nigh-undeletable tracking cookie in your browser, storing the information in eight separate ways; if you try to delete it but leave even one copy of the data around, it will repopulate itself using that last shred. Evercookies can even spread between browsers on the same system. The point of the project is to show that browsers are lagging behind privacy-invaders when it comes to cookie management, and to spur the organizations that publish browsers into creating better tools for privacy management.
"I hope evercookie simply demonstrates to people what types of methods are being employed to track them and to decide whether or not they want to prevent those methods," he said. "evercookie took less than a day to create for me as a security hobbyist, so I can only imagine the technology that funded developers are producing."
Zombie cookie wars: evil tracking API meant to "raise awareness"
Kamkar says he doesn't actually use evercookie to track people--it exists largely as a proof of concept, and he's not using technologies that are particularly bleeding edge in the developer world.
"None of these are new techniques," he told Ars, "but an API like this is awesome at raising awareness."
Of course, the mere fact that evercookie exists (and exists as an open source project that anyone can use) means that there will be some evil Web developers who make use of it, but that's almost the point. We're supposed to be scared.
Kamkar sees his project as a kind of litmus test to see whether people really are up to protecting themselves from being tracked by persistent cookies that anyone could implement, but he also understands that the "average" Internet user is hardly aware of traditional cookies, much less Flash cookies and beyond. Deleting the data from all eight (or more) storage mechanisms can be a pretty daunting task even for the relatively experienced surfer.
(Image: Peanut Butter Cookies, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from veganfeast's photostream)
On the left: a Colby Walkmac, “the first battery-operated Macintosh computer and first portable Mac with a LCD display.”
Media artist Michael Naimark writes: In 1990, right as the first VR wave was swelling, Stewart Brand and Grateful Dead manager Jon Mcintyre concocted a scheme to produce an invitation-only 24-hour VR event modeled after the Electric Cool-Aid Acid test. They convinced Colossal Pictures, the largest soundstage in San Francisco, to host it. Dozens of […]
In Wired, BB pal Kevin Kelly wrote a definitive feature about the current (and future?) state of virtual reality, technology that many of us first tried in the late 1980s but took nearly thirty years to be ready for prime time. I first put my head into virtual reality in 1989. Before even the web […]
You never know when new projects, ideas or opportunities can drop into your lap at a moment’s notice. That may require you to learn a new programming language like Python. Or maybe you need a primer on 3D game development. Or you might realize you could use a serious brush-up on iOS mobile creation.Point is, […]
Isn’t it about time to stretch what your Mac can do? I mean, you’ve got plenty of great programs now…but don’t you think you could use some new tools to get your creative, analytical and organizational juices really flowing? It’s spring, so we cleaned up a whole bunch of super-cool apps lying around and packaged […]
In the world of app development, there’s no greater arena to find success than with Android users. About 80% of the smartphones in use today worldwide operate on the Android operating system, so if you build a great app that Android users love, you’re an international rock star. You’ll be able to make sure your […]