Cookie tips – #1 – What are cookies?

January 23rd, 2006

This week's tips are all about those little bits of information that websites put on your computer - [tag]Cookies[/tag]!

Let's begin by looking at what cookies are.

Cookies are small files placed on your computer by websites.  These files can contain a wide array of information - basic login data for a website (such as a webmail account or an e-commerce site), information about when you last logged in (for statistical or tracking purposes), personalization and customization information and a lot more.

There are two stages to a cookie's lifecycle:

  • A cookie is created by the web server and saved onto your computer
  • The web server requests the cookie and the contents is read

OK, all this is fine, but are cookies harmful?  Well, if you're wondering whether a cookie can harbor a virus or worm, the answer is no, this isn't possible.  But the risk that cookies pose is from the information that they store and later transmit back to the server of the site that set them.  While some people don't care about a company having the ability to track what ads you've seen across a website, other people find this offensive and want the information removed.

The good news is that with a little know-how, you can take control over cookies pretty easily!

Stay tuned!

This entry was posted on Monday, January 23rd, 2006 at 09:00 and is filed under Beginners Only!, PC Doctor Tips. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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