ConsumerSoft Unveils Free Software to Protect against Latest Privacy Threat

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Flash Cookie Cleaner is the first product to protect your privacy by finding and eliminating "hidden" cookies transmitted through Flash plug-ins.

Flash Cookie Cleaner Interface

Computer users today are increasingly sophisticated, and they are more and more concerned about their privacy and security online

Consumer Software International, Inc, makers of the best-selling My Faster PC repair tool, announced today the release of Flash Cookie Cleaner, a free program that helps computer users eliminate the latest threat to their privacy - Flash plug-in cookies.

By now, most PC users are familiar with cookies, bits of data that websites store on your browser to keep track of what you're doing. Cookies make it possible for sites to remember who you are, and receiving them is necessary for logging onto most email accounts and playing online games. However, these cookies can also be used by companies who want to snoop on you, and find out personal information, such as what websites you like to visit. Usually, the information companies gather through cookies is anonymous, and is only used to create targeted advertisements. Still, cookies do present privacy risks, and as they're stored on your computer, they can leave a potentially embarrassing record of your browsing history.

Because the risks of leaving cookies lying about are well known, most browsers now include tools to help block or erase cookies, and JupiterMedia, an independent consulting agency, reports that over 58% of all computer users flush cookies regularly.

In response to web surfers' cookie "dieting," marketers have developed a new kind of cookie, called a persistent identification element, or PIE. A PIE, also known as a local shared object, or LSO, is a kind of cookie that gets smuggled onto your computer through plug-ins, such as the Flash player, an application that lets you view multimedia content. Because PIEs travel through plug-ins, browser tools can't erase them, and most users have no idea they're being monitored by these stealthy elements.

Once PIEs tag your browser, they behave like normal cookies - letting companies see what websites you visit so marketers can send you targeted ads, and they carry much the same privacy risks. Many PIEs also function as veritable cookie bakeries, and are able to create and replace browser cookies once they're deleted.

Macromedia, a company that helped develop the ultra-popular Flash player, has published estimates that almost 98% of PC users have installed Flash players on their browsers, making it an extremely attractive back-door for companies to use to access your information.

"Computer users today are increasingly sophisticated, and they are more and more concerned about their privacy and security online," says Trisha Burns, Senior Director of Sales and Marketing at ConsumerSoft. "We believe in empowering users to have control over what information they share when they visit a website, and the Flash Cookie Cleaner gives them that control."

The Flash Cookie Cleaner uses a special code that detects signatures of PIE files smuggled through the Flash plug-in, and then safely eliminates them.

Starting today, Flash Cookie Cleaner can be downloaded free of charge from http://www.flashcookiecleaner.com, as part of ConsumerSoft's effort to make user-friendly, PC-improving software as widely available as possible.

About ConsumerSoft

Founded in 2006, ConsumerSoft spent two years in R&D before launching My Faster PC, a diagnostic and maintenance tool that has revolutionized the consumer utilities market. The New York-based company is an industry leader in making professional PC performance-enhancing technology accessible to all PC owners - a mission it achieves through intuitive user interfaces, low price points, and by providing free, live, US-based phone support for all its products. More information can be found at the ConsumerSoft website.

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Trisha Burns
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