Cookies - what do they do, are they harmful??

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Cookies - what do they do, are they harmful??
Jim Hillier
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August 1, 2011 - 9:00 pm

[b:2ro24yeb][u:2ro24yeb]NOTE[/u:2ro24yeb]: Dave has written an excellent article relating to this very subject. It's called "Are Cookies Helpful or Harmful" and can be viewed on the main site [url=http://www.davescomputertips.com/articles/internet/are_cookies_helpful_or_harmful.php:2ro24yeb]HERE.[/url:2ro24yeb] [/b:2ro24yeb]

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Cookies are probably one of the most misunderstood aspects of computers and the internet, especially among not so savvy users. Cookies have acquired a certain notoriety over the years and, hopefully, this brief explanation will clear up some of the common misconceptions and help clarify the situation in general:

[b:2ro24yeb]What do cookies do[/b:2ro24yeb]:

There are basically two main types:

1) Session cookies: are used to maintain information about a user

Mindblower
Montreal, Canada
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August 1, 2011 - 9:40 pm

Excellent post ozbloke. I'll just add that I keep the cookies I require for auto logins, but delete the rest. This is my cautious was of not being tracked by the unknown. Guess we all have some quarks, Mindblower!

"Light travels faster than sound;
That is why some people seem bright until you hear them speak"

Jim Hillier
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August 1, 2011 - 10:01 pm

[quote:3fx8x740]This is my cautious was of not being tracked by the unknown. Guess we all have some quarks[/quote:3fx8x740]
Not at all MB. I treat cookies in exactly the same manner as you do. I believe many people would adopt a very similar strategy, so it ain't that "quirky" mate. A wise precaution perhaps?

I remember when the Ad-Aware freeware first came out and people were saying...'gee this is really good, it's finding heaps of threats which weren't detected by other security software scanners'.

What it was flagging, of course, was harmless cookies!! LOL

Chad Johnson
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August 2, 2011 - 9:15 am

My favorite cookies are chocolate chip. Mmm...

There was a firefox add on a few years ago called 'SecureCookies' or some such. It essentially walled off your cookies so they weren't aware of other cookies. I think browsers do this by default now, so we've certainly come a long way from the early days of the web.

I equate cookies to the record my mechanic keeps of the car. My mechanic has records of the service done on my car. If I asked him to, I'm sure he'd delete those, but that means next time I have to take my car in its like a first time visit - no records of anything done in the past, no way to check for patterns or problems, etc.

Not a perfect analogy, but close enough. When you consider that loyalty card programs are getting far more information from you than Internet cookies....it's not all that bad.

Mindblower
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August 2, 2011 - 12:07 pm

Might be a good time to re-mention [url=http://www.ghostery.com:3li1k16p]Ghostery[/url:3li1k16p]. Apart from cookies, blocking ones tracks, is just as important (or even more so), Mindblower!

"Light travels faster than sound;
That is why some people seem bright until you hear them speak"

Jim Hillier
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August 2, 2011 - 12:33 pm

Yep MB. Did you read through my submission on Cocoon too?? It's a free service which keeps all your browsing information/history private:
[url=http://www.davescomputertips.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=1400:zq028aki]HERE.[/url:zq028aki]

Mindblower
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August 2, 2011 - 5:02 pm

[quote="ozbloke":39nlkwf8]Did you read through my submission on Cocoon too?? [/quote:39nlkwf8]

Had a quick glance, saved the link, and will check it out in detail soon. My search engine is [url=https://ssl.scroogle.org/:39nlkwf8]Scroogle Scrapper[/url:39nlkwf8], as it uses SSL.

[quote:39nlkwf8]Secure Socket Layer is an encryption protocol that is available in almost all browsers. If you've ever entered your credit card number to purchase something online, you should have checked for the little yellow padlock at the bottom right of your browser. That means no one can intercept your number as it travels between your browser and the online merchant, because the browser has established a secure connection. That's SSL. [/quote:39nlkwf8]

Use it for Firefox and IE (but believe Opera and Chrome are also supported), Mindblower!

"Light travels faster than sound;
That is why some people seem bright until you hear them speak"

Jim Hillier
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August 2, 2011 - 6:16 pm

Must admit, I hadn't heard of that one MB. Thanks for the mention and the heads up.

Duck Duck Go, Scroogle Scrapper..... seems it is right in vogue to give search engines really weird names!!

Flying Dutchman
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August 2, 2011 - 8:09 pm

Ixquick HTPTPS, is another search engine that offers SSL, plus it doesn't record IP addresses and also offers viewing results over Proxy.

As for cookies, "harmful" is not only security related when talking about the web.
A good Cookie Manager and a good wipe with CCleaner at the end of the day (or after each session) make sure you have control over cookies.

Cheers

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