There’s a new internet threat in town and browser makers are rushing to keep it from invading their users’ privacy. The latest to join the fray: Mozilla, which recently rolled out an update for its Firefox browser for combating the rise of what’s today colloquially referred to as supercookies.
So what’s a supercookie?
We’re all familiar with web cookies. They’re tiny little pieces of information that websites deposit in your browser to know it’s you the next time you visit them. You can opt out of them, block them, and wipe them off your computer. But what if you had no control over them and advertisers could track you across the web despite your browser’s built-in protections? That’s a supercookie.
As consumers have caught on to cookies’ role in online tracking, advertisers have scrambled for alternate technologies to circumvent safeguards and sneak trackers into your browsers. They’ve found that in a variety of technologies collectively referred to as supercookies. A supercookie, as Bennett Cyphers, a technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation puts it, is “anything that isn’t a traditional cookie but acts like one.”