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)
Human biases exposed by Implicit Association Tests can be replicated in machine learning using GloVe word embedding, according to a new study where GloVe was trained on “a corpus of text from the Web.”
Hey, it’s your ol’ pal Joel! Used to write a gadget blog that wasn’t about gadgets? Man, great to see you. No, no, have a seat. Can we get a couple of…yeah, no ice, thanks.So let’s get business out of the way before we eat: One of my clients is launching a Kickstarter today and […]
With the cacophony of an election year ablaze with unparalleled drama being fought on the front lines of Twitter, we find ourselves slowing down and staring at it like a bad accident. The need for escapist relief is perhaps more dire than usual right now. This fall, if it’s drama you crave, but the Hillary […]
If you’re like us, packing and unpacking are two of your least favorite aspects of traveling. Specifically with multi-destination trips, our suitcases usually end in wrinkled clothing, toothpaste stains, and a misplaced deodorant.The good news is that we’ve found a suitcase that eliminates the disastrous effects of packing and unpacking: The Rolo Travel Bag ($42.99). You essentially use it […]
Finding quality icons is a challenge for designers, and can also get pretty costly if you use them often. And when you’ve got a lot to do, the last thing you want to spend your time on is creating new icons from scratch That’s why we recommend using the Noun Project ($49). Noun Project is a site […]
While Netflix and Hulu have seemingly dominated the streaming market with their limited selections, we’ve looked a little outside the box and found something pretty great as an alternative. SelectTV combines all the content of cable with the convenience of streaming, and it’s affordable too.SelectTV is an online subscription service that packs an impressive library of over […]