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Last updateFri, 29 Jul 2016 8am

Back You are here: Home Security Internet Is Internet Cookie OK?

Is Internet Cookie OK?

You will find cookies in your Internet browser such as the Internet Explorer, Fire Fox, Opera, and Safari. Cookies are generally small text files that are stored in your computer's browser directory or program data subfolders. Cookies are created when you use your browser to visit websites and generally are beneficial.

Websites create and use these cookies to keep track of your movements within many sites, help you resume where you left off, remember your registered log-in, theme selection, preferences, and other customization functions.

Cookies have six parameters that can be passed to them:

  • The name of the cookie.
  • The value of the cookie.
  • The expiration date of the cookie - this determines how long the cookie will remain active in your browser.
  • The path the cookie is valid for - this sets the URL path the cookie us valid in. Web pages outside of that path cannot use the cookie.
  • The domain he cookie is valid for. This makes the cookie accessible to pages on any of the servers when a site uses multiple servers in a domain.
  • The need for a secure connection - this indicates that the cookie can only be used under a secure server condition, such as a site using SSL.

Below is an example of a cookie file from the microsoft.com site while acquiring information.
WT_FPCid=29cc680aa6c4c4634499942942821270:lv=1314422694282:ss=1314422694282
microsoft.com/102415873533443090653626815063730172282

Here is another example of a cookie file from the google.com site while browsing there.
PREFID=cb7d0831c7c904eb:FF=0:TB=5:TM=1314634302:LM=1314634302:S=RuxKjPzSj
6Bw-roFgoogle.com/1536121801600030319625316243896130172774*

The most common type of cookie out there is simply one that tells a web master that you have visited the site, so that they can count the number of unique visitors they received. They won’t know that it was you specifically, just information that someone on your computer came to the site. They will also know any information you gave the site while there. However, the web master cannot read information that is on your hard drive. Your personal information is safe as long as you don’t give it away. The information the cookie saves is info that you’ve given when registering, and by saving it as a cookie it makes it easier for you to log in the next time or continue where the user left off.
Cookies are actually valuable in that they save you time while on a web site and allow the web site to serve you better. Cookies are not software. They cannot be programmed nor is a malware program. However, they can be used by spyware to track user's browsing activities. Cookies could also be stolen by hackers to gain access to a victim's web account. However, there is no limit to what cookies may contain. It can be used to help hackers to get information from you or even allow programs to be downloaded to your computers without your knowledge to stop it. These types are called malicious and tracking cookies. They track you and your surfing habits, over time, to build a profile of your interests. Once that profile contains enough information there is a good chance that your information can be sold to advertising companies to target you with interest specific adverts. Many antivirus programs today will flag suspicious spyware or adware cookies when scanning your system for viruses.

What can you do?

  • You can set your browser to not allow cookies. This will difficult since many sites such as banks and online shopping require cookies.
  • You can configure your browser to delete your cookies when you close your browser.
  • You can get good security tools like Malwarebytes and Superantispyware to scan and remove unwanted cookies.
  • Get and install good security suite designed to protect you from viruses, intrusion, and cookies.

Here is one link from www.aboutcookies.org that might help for different browsers and applications that uses cookies: http://www.aboutcookies.org/Default.aspx?page=2#ie8 . The Workspace Solution, Inc. does not take any credit nor responsibilities on the information presented to help manage the cookies.