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No, we are not talking about the cookies grandma bakes. An Internet cookie is a very small text file. A cookie is not a harmful program and it is not spyware.

A cookie is put on your computer system by a website that you may visit. Normally a cookie contains pieces of information that usually contains a unique name-value pair which is associated only with the web site you visit. This way when you visit the same website again, that website can tell by the the unique name-value pair that this is not your first visit to their website, for accurate visitor tracking to the website. Web sites are able to store user preferences in a database, that are also identified by the unique name-value pair within a cookie file. An example of this would be your zip code, if you went to a website that needed your zip code so it could tell you the local weather.

Third party cookie files may become a privacy concern. These are the advertisers websites that place a cookie on your system, tracking shopping patterns or interests when you visit a website containing their advertisements. An example would be a free download site or a free online game site. This can cause you to receive some of the junk e-mail messages. However it is really still the spyware that really tracks where you go on the Internet that is the real problem.

You have complete control over any cookie file that is placed on your system. This is controlled by your browser privacy or security settings. Also you can view a cookie file since it is a text file to see what kind of information it contains. When you erase all your temporary Internet files on your system, all your Internet cookies are also erased. You can also have your system prompt you when a website is trying to place a cookie file on your system and that will give you the opportunity to block the cookie file. Or you can block all cookies files. You should also be able to block individual web sites from placing a cookie on your system. However remember that a cookie file is still just a text file and will not harm your computer system.


See ResourceRecommendations. Feel free to add additional resources to these lists, but please follow the guidelines on ResourceRecommendations including ResourceRecommendations#Guidelines_for_Rating_Resources.


  • () ValHaring - 07 Oct 2002
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Topic revision: r1 - 2002-10-08 - ValHaring
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