Delete Cookies: New-Age Diet or Common Sense Internet Security?

No, this article isn't about some new, lose-20-pounds-in-a-week, certified-by-some-tan-Southern-California-doctor diet. It's about cookies on your computer - what they are, why they are there, and what to do about them. Computer cookies actually have quite a bit in common with their baked counterparts - some are good, some are bad, and they have expiration dates.

Cookies are small text files that a server places onto your hard drive whenever you access a given domain. Cookies typically contain information that the website uses to either customize the page you are viewing or otherwise make your web browsing experience more convenient and enjoyable. The information is stored on your hard drive and accessed whenever you go back to the website that originally gave you the cookie. They usually include an expiration date at which point they will be erased from your computer - it could be when you close your browser; or hours, days, months, or years after it is placed. Some don't expire at all. At the time of this writing I had a cookie stored on my computer that wasn't set to expire until Wednesday, February 25th, 2195 at 3:45:13 am - I deleted it.

Before you run out to your browser's options and delete and block all cookies, let me mention a few common uses of cookies:

* Cookies store information for 'shopping carts' at online stores. When you select an item and place it in the shopping cart, a cookie is created to remember the item and the price so that you can keep shopping. When you are done shopping you simply click the button to check out and the site accesses the information stored in the cookies to complete your order.

* Cookies can be used to remember logins and passwords. While this initially sounds a little disheartening, the purpose is really to save you time. Sites will remember the information for you so you don't have to type it in each time you want to access information.

* Cookies help websites customize their content and layout for you. If you are a diehard fan of the local college's basketball team, and you always access the stats and score from the game at a website, that site might use a cookie to send you straight to your team's page.

* Cookies help identify whether you have already visited a site. They can also count how many times you have visited the site in a given period of time.

* Cookies remember the last page or position you were on at the site. Like a virtual bookmark, this is especially helpful if you are reading online or accessing several pages of information.

There are many other ways cookies can be used, and there is obvious potential for abuse. You probably wouldn't eat a cookie given to you by a complete stranger, especially if you didn't know what was in it. The same common-sense principle holds true while you're online, and exercising a little caution can save you from a lot of heartache later on. Blocking any and all cookies will guarantee no personal information is leaked through the cookies, but many sites will either not be able to or will choose not to interact with you.

The trick, then, is to let the good cookies through while screening out the bad ones, not at all dissimilar to what you do when you hover over the cookie tray at a party - you take the ones you want and leave the rest behind. This can be accomplished in a few different ways.

First, you can periodically delete all the cookies on your hard drive. This will systematically wipe out all unwanted cookies that have made their way to your computer. Unfortunately, it will also take care of all the good cookies too. If you only use the internet occasionally (i.e. a few minutes a week), this option might work for you.

Second, you can try to go about it manually. Many browsers that allow you to block cookies also include a feature that allows you to include a list of sites from which you will allow cookies. The advantage of this method is it places virtually complete control over cookies into your hands, allowing only those that you want to be placed on your hard drive. The disadvantage is that it can become very burdensome (at times downright annoying) having to constantly update the list of allowed sites.

Third, you can call in some third-party software to help out. The best programs will scan your computer to find all the cookies and put them into a table or list. This saves you the trouble of having to dig around your hard drive to find the files yourself (try looking for a folder named "Cookies"). Many programs will also indicate with some degree of confidence whether a given cookie is wanted or unwanted, and provide a convenient way to delete the ones that you decide you don't want.

Nick Smith is a client account specialist with 10x Marketing - More Visitors. More Buyers. More Revenue. For great software to help delete cookies, check out ContentWatch, Inc.

In The News:


Aljazeera.com

Milo Yiannopoulos' security cost UC Berkeley $800,000 | Far Right ...
Aljazeera.com
US university grappling with budget cuts and layoffs spends sum on security for far-right speaker's 15-minute rally.

and more »

Gizmodo

Source: Deloitte Breach Affected All Company Email, Admin Accounts
Krebs on Security
In its statement about the incident, Deloitte said it responded by “implementing its comprehensive security protocol and initiating an intensive and thorough review which included mobilizing a team of cyber-security and confidentiality experts inside ...
One of the World's Biggest Accounting Firms Hacked After Basic Security GoofGizmodo
Industry reactions to the Deloitte cyber attackHelp Net Security

all 88 news articles »

ZDNet

Microsoft adds new Microsoft 365 versions, plus security and management features
ZDNet
Microsoft is adding new Microsoft 365 bundles, and adding more features to these integrated Windows, Office 365 and Enterprise Mobiity + Security management and security subscription offerings. Microsoft introduced Microsoft 365 at its Inspire ...
Microsoft looks to the cloud to expand its security offeringsTechCrunch
Ignite 2017: Improving Security via the Microsoft's Intelligent Security GraphWindows IT Pro

all 188 news articles »

Forbes

Security Concerns Again Hang Over Winter Olympics
Forbes
The PyeongChang 2018 Olympic medals during their unveiling at a ceremony in Seoul on Sept. 21. (Photo by JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images). North Korea ramped up its vitriol on Monday, undoubtedly increasing concerns by athletes who are preparing ...
South Korean Olympic chief downplays security concernsUPI.com

all 48 news articles »

Bloomberg

SEC Says It Told US Security Officials of Hack Months Ago
Bloomberg
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission told government cybersecurity officials about a hack into its database of corporate filings soon after it happened last year, months before the agency's new chairman made the breach public. Since disclosing ...

and more »

Daily Signal

Trump's New Travel Ban Is Standard Security Policy
Daily Signal
President Donald Trump's latest travel executive order restricts travel from seven countries that are known state sponsors of terrorism or have failed to work effectively with the U.S. against emerging threats. (Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters /Newscom) ...
President Trump's New Travel Executive Order Has Little National Security JustificationCato Institute (blog)
White House expands travel ban, restricting visitors from eight countriesWashington Post

all 835 news articles »

cleveland.com

Cleveland Browns security guard robbed at gunpoint near FirstEnergy Stadium
cleveland.com
Darnell Hurt, an employee at Contemporary Services Corporation, which provides security for the Browns, said he was walking to the stadium to catch a bus that would take him and other employees to Indianapolis where they would provide security for the ...


Macworld

Report: Security hole in macOS Keychain puts passwords at risk
Macworld
Apple released macOS High Sierra on Monday, so it should be a nice way to spotlight the Mac this week after last week's iOS 11 and iPhone 8 releases. But a report by a security researcher at Synack puts a bit of a damper on the High Sierra release.
macOS High Sierra Automatically Performs Security Check on EFI Firmware Each WeekMac Rumors
Ex-NSA hacker drops macOS High Sierra zero-day hours before launchZDNet
High Sierra validates Mac firmware weekly, alerts users to possible security issuesAppleInsider (press release) (blog)

all 106 news articles »

East Bay Times

Safeway adds security, OKs arresting trespassers at downtown Concord store
East Bay Times
15 letter to Mayor Laura Hoffmeister, the supermarket chain responded to the city's concerns about shoplifting, trespassing and security at the downtown grocery store. Safeway confirmed plans to paint the building's exterior, evaluate the parking lot ...

and more »

WKRN.com

Church shooting suspect worked for security company less than 12 hours before Antioch attack
WKRN.com
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The man arrested for the deadly shooting at an Antioch church Sunday applied for a security guard license Friday before the attack, and worked as a security guard Saturday night . Emanuel Samson attended a class for ...
Antioch Church Gunman Attended Unarmed Security Training Class Before AttackNewsChannel5.com
Alleged Antioch church gunman tried to renew security license days before shootingWZTV

all 618 news articles »
Google News

Traditional Antivirus Programs Useless Against New Unidentified Viruses!

Every now and then you can read about a new... Read More

A Painless Plagiarism Solution

A crowded marketplace can lead to unethical webmasters using underhand... Read More

Is That Free Stuff Like An iPod Or Desktop Computer Really Free?

Have you seen the web site, www.freestuff.com? Or have you... Read More

Can I Guess Your Password?

We all know that it's dangerous to use the same... Read More

Phishing-Based Scams: A Couple of New Ones

Phishing in its "classic" variant is relatively well-known. Actually, 43.4... Read More

Mall Protection

The Loss Prevention Manager should be receptive to the needs... Read More

New Mass Mailing Spamming Internet Trojan for the Windows Platform

May. 16th 2005 - MicroWorld has reported the discovery of... Read More

How to Prevent Online Identity Theft

Identity theft rates one of the fastest growing crimes in... Read More

Online Shoppers, Beware of a New Scam

Beware of a New Scam Aimed at Bargain-HuntersTrying to buy... Read More

Sarbanes-Oxley: A Cross-Industry Email Compliance Challenge

Is your enterprise following the rules?The bulk of financial information... Read More

Internet Small Business and Fraud

Be careful of sites that promise to send you "instant... Read More

How to Protect Your Child from the Internet

When the Internet first came about, it was realized it... Read More

How To Give Away Your Personal Information

Identity Theft and Your Personal Information -------------------------------------------- Identity theft is... Read More

Top 10 tips for Safe Internet Shopping

Over £5 billion pounds was spent on online shopping in... Read More

Identity Theft -- 10 Simple Ways to Protect Your Good Name!

Identity Theft is one of the most serious problems facing... Read More

Computer Viruses - How to Remove a Computer Virus from Your Computer

Computer viruses infect millions of computers every day. Viruses can... Read More

Anti-Spyware Protection: Behind How-To Tips

There is no doubt that "how-to articles" have become a... Read More

Firewall Protection - Does Your Firewall Do This?

The first thing people think about when defending their computers... Read More

Click Here To Defeat Evil

Microsoft routinely releases new security updates, many of which are... Read More

Web Conferencing Readers - So What Do We Do with the PAYPAL SPAMMER

From: "Paypal Security" Subject: New Security Requirements Date: Tue, 26... Read More

Mail Forwarding - Why Would You Do It?

First of all we need to get some terms stated.... Read More

What is Hacking? Are You a Hacker?

WHAT IS HACKING?Hacking, sometimes known as "computer crime" has only... Read More

Adware and Spyware: The Problems and Their Solutions

The Threat10 years ago you could probably have run no... Read More

Why you Must Secure your Digital Product and Thank You Web Page

A couple of years back, I paid my dues the... Read More

The Risk Of Electronic Fraud & Identity Theft

Electronic Fraud and Identity Theft ----------------------------------- Human beings are pretty... Read More