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Verizon’s supercookies are bad news


If you were worried about cookies and your privacy before, hold on to your hats because your worries are about to get just a little bit more serious. Verizon has rolled out its supercookies, which are not particularly delicious and could open the gateway to hell for you by letting advertisers and hackers go for a joyride in your personal data.

The supercookies work by tracking the web pages that you are opening on your system. Every link you visit is up for grabs. But that was something even regular old cookies could do. The added blow that supercookies land on the user is that they actually go a step further and can tell when you’re switching from your tablet to your phone or from your tablet to your TV and so on and so forth. Every single piece of web you taste in the middle of this is tracked by the company.

So basically every single move you make is online is theirs for the taking. But while Verizon is having a jolly good time with all this data they also open it up to the potential harm of hackers. The tracking program is not good news at all. And if Verizon is doing it other carriers will eventually follow suit, because who doesn’t want a bigger piece of the data pie?

Why supercookies?

Why any cookies at all? Information that is obtained from these is used to understand how a user is behaving online. Their behavior is then converted into fodder for advertisers so that they can refine their campaigns and make sure you don’t just browse the internet, you end up buying something from them as you go. The company has been tracking users for the past two years under the Precision Market Insights program. AT&T is also testing a system to bring on similar tracking, while it may not go full metal on its users yet, it most certainly will in the future. Both Verizon and AT&T make up the majority rule when it comes to wireless carriers within the United States.

People who wanted privacy before this shouldn’t really expect all that much. The supercookies, unlike regular nice cookies, are not as easy to get rid of. While Verizon swears it would never misuse consumer info, it can’t do much about a hack. And if anything so far 2014 has proved itself to be the mother lode of all hack years. We have never before seen the level of threats that we have been facing this year. So what’s stopping a hacker from realizing that Verizon has some pretty lucrative information and they could benefit greatly if they could just tap into it?

So far it seems like Verizon has put in some measures to make sure that no one steals data from it. The supercookie is replaced once a week and third parties are not trusted with any customer information under any circumstances. But the problem at the end of the day remains that people can’t really get rid of the supercookies as easily as they get infected by them. And therein lies the rub.


Image credit: Gil C /