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Tracking cookies in Firefox 3.0.5???

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Amethyst23
 
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Post Posted January 16th, 2009, 8:16 am

I am using AVG free 8, and it has always detected and removed tracking cookies in Firefox 2.x versions. When I ran a full scan today, AVG found tracking cookies in my Opera browser and in IE (which I used once last week to test a website which turned out to be faulty), but nothing in Firefox 3.0.5, which I just installed a couple of days ago, updating from 2.x.

I've googled this question and I'm not finding any answers, so I'm asking here. Is there something in Firefox 3.x versions that deals with cookies any differently than in 2.x versions? I have my browser set to accept 3rd party cookies and I don't want to delete ALL cookies every time I close the browser, nor do I want to block ALL cookies. I generally scan my computers once a week or more often if necessary and let the security software get rid of any tracking cookies it finds. I manually deleted a few this morning that I knew I didn't want after AVG failed to do so from FF 3.x.

nevis101
 
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Post Posted January 16th, 2009, 9:13 am

If you don't want tracking cookies, a really good start would be to turn off accepting of 3rd party cookies. They are very rarely needed anyway.

Many cleanup programs do not know how to manipulate the new cookies file format in Firefox 3.*, cookies are now in cookies.sqlite, not cookies.txt. http://kb.mozillazine.org/Cookies

Amethyst23
 
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Post Posted January 16th, 2009, 10:17 am

A moderator on the AVG forum just told me that Firefox 3 automatically blocks some of the more widely used tracking cookies.

However, if AVG free 8 is unable to deal with the way Firefox 3 stores cookies, I'm sure that is something their developers will want to address. I go back and forth between Opera and Firefox on my laptop. (I'm on the desktop at the moment, where I am still with FF 2.x. I was trying 3.x on the laptop, and since I do like the way it is performing so far, I'll upgrade the desktop as soon as some other recently installed updates have had a chance to settle in.) I mentioned on the forum that AVG free didn't support Opera, which has its cookies in a .dat file. Well, AVG free now finds the cookies, but it can't clean up the .dat file. It deletes the whole thing instead, which is a minor nuisance in that I then have to re-log onto a couple of pages, but other than that not a huge problem.

I'll check into it more and if AVG free 8 can't read and clean up a .sqlite file, their developers will probably want to work on that.

In the meantime, can someone here confirm /deny that Firefox 3 does do this automatic blocking of some tracking cookies?

Thanks for your feedback. :)
Last edited by Amethyst23 on January 16th, 2009, 8:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

alterna

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Post Posted January 16th, 2009, 12:31 pm

For blocking tracking cookies, I find the following unobtrusive yet useful
SpywareBlaster http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html
"So it goes" - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Amethyst23
 
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Post Posted January 17th, 2009, 8:14 am

Thanks, nevis. I ended up deleting all of the cookies in the Firefox browser and setting it to not accept 3rd party cookies. I've also made the same change in my Opera browser. I haven't seen any difference in any of the web pages I go to.

Thanks for the link, alterna.

I am asking on the AVG free 8 forum whether or not AVG free 8 can read the .sqlite file, and I am waiting for an answer to that question. I figure if AVG free 8 offers protection from tracking cookies as a feature, a person should know if that is not available for Firefox 3.x.

OK, now that I've got Firefox 3 set to not accept 3rd party cookies, I still have a question. One of the mods on the AVG free forum said that Firefox 3 blocks some of the more common tracking cookies by default. Does that only apply if you've removed the check from the 'accept 3rd party cookies' box, or is there some other built in protection there in addition to that? Because when I upgraded from 2 to 3, it left the check IN that box to accept 3rd party cookies. And what about a website you visit that places its own tracking cookie on your system?

I'm almost getting the impression that there is the possibility or perception that Firefox 3, by default, does not GET tracking cookies in the first place by default, so then security software scanning FF 3 for tracking cookies wouldn't find any because there would be none there in the first place. (But what about the tracking cookies that were carried forward from my version 2 into version 3? I recognized a few of them as being ones that AVG does deem tracking cookies. Yet my scan didn't find them.) This is why I'm asking, so people know what they've got, are aware of what they're dealing with.

And I think if the cleanup programs don't know how to handle the .sqlite files, that's something they need to work on, right? ;) Or do the cleanup program developers think they don't need to? They would think that if they figure Firefox 3.x doesn't get tracking cookies because the browser just blocks them by default.

Jim too
 
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Post Posted January 17th, 2009, 8:48 am

Have you consider using a cookie manager to help control what cookies are stored? Cookie safe and CS Lite are two extensions that help manage cookies.

alterna

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Post Posted January 17th, 2009, 9:13 am

FWIW
I have cookies set to be deleted upon closing browser, except for those I wish to retain, which I set as "Allow" in Exceptions, those generally being log-ins.
I haven't heard of Firefox blocking tracking cookies by default, though it will block malicious and phishing sites if the google protection is enabled. Tools > Options > Security
"So it goes" - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

mzfuser
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Post Posted January 17th, 2009, 12:08 pm

@alterna - so Firefox wont delete cookies from sites in the Exceptions list?

alterna

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Post Posted January 17th, 2009, 12:12 pm

@mzfuser
The cookies that I have selected in Exceptions as "Allow" continue through browser sessions, all else are deleted upon closing.
I also have a long list of Blocked cookies, a list that I saved from a prior install of Cookie Safe
"So it goes" - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Amethyst23
 
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Post Posted January 18th, 2009, 8:53 am

I still haven't had a clear yes or no on the AVG free forum about .sqlite files, so I'll take it that AVG free 8 is unable to read the cookies there. I wrote about this on a forum thread that is monitored by the AVG developers, so maybe they'll make an effort to deal with this. I think people should know that AVG free 8 apparently offers no tracking cookie protection to users of Firefox 3.x, and if they want that protection, they'll have to look elsewhere.

I'm never a big fan of having multiple security software on a PC and I don't like a lot of stuff running in the background, but I see spywareblaster does get good reviews and doesn't seem to conflict with AVG free 8, so that's worth looking into.

I still haven't received an answer to this question as above:

"I'm almost getting the impression that there is the possibility or perception that Firefox 3, by default, does not GET tracking cookies in the first place by default, so then security software scanning FF 3 for tracking cookies wouldn't find any because there would be none there in the first place. (But what about the tracking cookies that were carried forward from my version 2 into version 3? I recognized a few of them as being ones that AVG does deem tracking cookies. Yet my scan didn't find them.)"

alterna

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Post Posted January 18th, 2009, 9:03 am

I used AVG awhile ago, now use Avast as active resident, and have Spybot Search and Destroy to scan.

ASAIK, Firefox will accept tracking cookies if you don't block them. I've had Spybot find a few before I started deleting all cookies except "Allowed" upon closing. (ps" if you use Spybot, do NOT activate the tea-timer immunization option, as that will cause problems with Firefox)
"So it goes" - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

mzfuser
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Post Posted January 18th, 2009, 9:05 am

Maybe AVG cant find tracking cookies in Fx3 because it cant read the sqlite files?

Amethyst23
 
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Post Posted January 18th, 2009, 10:40 am

Thanks, alterna. Aren't you running Spywareblaster, though? I have Spybot 1.5.2, but since then it's gotten to be a lot more than what I want, so I haven't updated and I don't have any resident features running. I just wanted a backup scanner that would just run on demand and find any tracking cookies and spyware that my resident program might miss. At the moment, I update and run the free version of Malwarebytes every day, and it's a nice and fairly quick little scanner. I'm reading good reports about it. But it doesn't deal with tracking cookies, of course.

mzfuser, it does certainly look like AVG can't read sqlite files. I've drawn attention to that on the AVG forums, so maybe the developers will get working on it. They seem to be pretty good about responding to customer feedback, and with Firefox being such a popular browser, I am sure the AVG developers would want to provide protection for it.

I see that my having turned off the 'accept 3rd party cookies' on both Opera and Firefox has been effective in keeping out a lot of junk. I should have used that setting a lot sooner, I guess.

Didn't mean to ignore you, Jim. I have been checking into Firefox's cookie manager extensions. Thanks for the suggestion. :)

alterna

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Post Posted January 18th, 2009, 12:49 pm

I just run Spybot as a scan, no real time action. Malwarebytes, too.
I must say, as a Hunter and Gatherer, I find myself incredibly frustrated when the final scan shows nothing. :)
"So it goes" - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

roparr2

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Post Posted January 21st, 2009, 2:40 pm

I've always had 3rd party cookies turned off in FF, and I get them anyway. I have to rake through the cookie files a few times a week.
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