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How to Kill the Evercookie and Supercookie

A web cookie was originally intended to do good to the web users and websites when it was introduced. Cookie is a data sent from the sites through the users’ browsers to the users’ computers while they are browsing. This is very helpful in storing the information regarding user activity. But like every other technology, cookies are also being used to manipulate user data.

An evercookie is a java application which gets stored in the browsers and is difficult to delete. Similarly, a supercookie also gets into the computer making it impossible for the users to eliminate them. Usually, these are used by advertisers to track user behaviour.

You could very well imagine what would happen if malicious users get their hands on some sensitive data. The problem lies in the fact that users have no simple ways to put an end to this tracking. Given below are some of the ways to help users in this regard.

Deleting the Evercookie
An evercookie reappears even after it is killed successfully. When you visit sites that use this technology, they find ways to recreate the cookies even if you delete them. But, the key lies in cleaning it again and again. This way, you can control these cookies to an extent.

Another way you can adopt is to use private browsing modes. When this mode is used while browsing, all the cached data will be stored only for the time the private session is active. When you exit the mode and close all windows, all the cookies get automatically deleted.

Evercookies use the two types of streaming video browser plug-ins – Microsoft Silverlight and Adobe Flash. These have their own caching mechanisms to store user data. Good news is that some operating systems do not load Flash by default.

In macOS with Safari, there are two options of deleting the evercookies.

  • Light: Choose Safari > Clear History. Now, select all History from popup menu. This gets rid of many cookies and visited pages.
  • Nuclear: First enable the Develop menu in Safari > Preferences > Advanced. Now, check Show Develop menu in Menu Bar. This is a good way to delete all the locally stored data.

Now every time you want to login to a site, you may have to enter the password.

Eliminating the Supercookies
Unlike the evercookie, supercookies tend to be unavoidable. Although these are not used currently, some of the internet providers used to insert these cookies into the users’ computers for tracking purposes. But, this enabled ad networks to find out the customer ID easily.

There are two ways of getting saved from these cookies.

  • Always use virtual private network: You may use a rent-a-VPN service like Cloak which offers a number of subscriptions for varying time and data. This helps you encrypt everything on the system past the local network including a VPN server in a data center. You can also use free VPNs but, remember to check their privacy policies.
  • Always visit secure versions of the sites: You may always login to the http versions of the sites. Though it is not very easy, some browsers prompt you to ensure this. These days, websites understand that even the revealing of casual data may trigger the insert of malware into the users’ connections by malicious parties. This is a good signal for the safety of the user data.

Educating the users about these cookies is very important to safeguard their own privacy. Experts believe that these cookies have no role in users’ computers. When the user has tried deleting them, then it is their right to have no more cookies coming their way.

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