Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Cookies Detected by Anti-Spyware Programs: The Current Status

Ben Edelmen has posted a link to a study that he was commissioned to do about which cookies 9 different spyware detectors detect and remove. I found it interesting, and it has a handy graph. Check it out. The Summary is as follows:
I test eleven anti-spyware programs for their treatment of cookies from 50 advertising systems. I report my observations in full detail, along with analysis of notable detections. For example, I find that PC Tools Spyware Doctor detects the most cookies from within my sample (50%), while cookies from, Aquantive/Atlas, Casale Media, FastClick, and MediaPlex are most often detected (each detected by 8 of the 11 anti-spyware programs tested). Conversion-tracking cookies from Yahoo Overture are widely detected (6/11), but no anti-spyware programs detects the corresponding Google cookies, perhaps because Google's cookies use arbitrary names that are hard for scanners to identify. I conclude by reporting some anomalies observed in testing, and by suggesting privacy-protective practices that may nonetheless accommodate typical advertiser objectives.

The report is available here.


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