Local Flash Files Reveal Browsing History

While doing some housekeeping cleanup on my Windows laptop, I noticed an interesting set of files under the Adobe/Macromedia Flash section in “Application Data”. Inside a directory called #SharedObjects was a set of sub-directories named after domains I had visited. Each directory contained one or more .sol files which I discovered are Local Shared Objects, basically local data storage for Flash components.

I’m not so worried about the privacy aspects of the sites using this local storage; it’s very similar to the issues with normal browser cookies. The surprising thing was the existence of this file set, essentially revealing all of the sites you had ever visited. In my case I had 217 unique domains from November 2007 through today.

For more info, see the recent article on Wired: You Deleted Your Cookies? Think Again, or the Adobe article What are local shared objects?. In the meantime, if you care about keeping your browsing history safe, remember to clear out these files regularly.

Screenshot of flash shared objects sub-directories