COOKIE FAQ
By :  COLDMOON

Many people are confused and concerned about COOKIES the first time that they discover them on their computer(s) or read about them in a newsgroup; see them mentioned in a television documentary or news report; hear worried gossip from friends and/or family who know as little or less than they do. The first time I heard the term COOKIE, I was alarmed as well. What are these files that are being placed on MY computer without MY knowledge or permission? What are they for? Will they harm my computer? Should I panic?

Well after I stopped pulling out my hair and bandaged my fingers from having bitten my fingernails down to the bone, I decided that I had better do some research and find out exactly what they were. I found an old post on a newsgroup I am a member of that had been posted as an answer to the very same questions I was having. I found some great links that I want to share with anyone who reads this page. The first one I believe you should look at deals with a general definition. So click on this: COOKIE. And for an even more detailed look at the subject click on this: MORE COOKIE

The above links are from the following web site, which has even more detailed information about cookies, so go ahead and check out what they have to offer.


 

See the following sites to research the subject further:


Rajiv Shah is a graduate student at the Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois at the time of this page’s creation. He has done some extensive research into cookies and their uses. I highly recommend that you read through the information provided on his site. Though his articles are of a technical nature, he has written them in a style that is easily understood by the layman.
 


I realize that this site may appear to be a strange one to include here, but they have a professional and dedicated research department that has looked into the standardization and security risks involved in the issue of cookies. 

http://www.bell-labs.com/news/1997/march/12/1.html

If you want to look at another great site take a look through their Cookies Page. I found a great deal of useful information there as well.
 

Well, now that we all know what a cookie is and have found out that even though they are neither good nor bad, and are in fact an integral part of how the web functions as a whole, we have been presented with the knowledge that they can be a possible security and privacy issue. Ok, so what now? I can see you reaching for your hair again (not a good idea due to the bloody stumps you have instead of fingers, so please remain calm. Help is on the way!). So relax that death grip you have on your mouse, chair, spouse or hair and allow me to point you towards some effective control measures.

NO SOFTWARE NEEDED: This is the easiest way to control cookies period. You simply don’t allow Internet Explorer, NetScape Communicator, or Opera to accept them in the first place. This is also the most limited way to go. If you decide on this method, you may not be able to view many of the sites you normally frequent, as many need cookies to function properly. At the very least, using this method will cause some of these pages to look strange or will cause some of their features to be disabled. If you are determined to take this route, here is what you need to do to turn cookies off in your particular browser:

Internet Explorer: click on start – settings – control panel – Internet options – open the security tab – highlight the Internet icon – click the button labeled "custom" – scroll down to the cookies section – change the options to disable. Here I would recommend that you try "prompt" first. This is annoying as every site that has cookies, will cause you to get a popup asking if you want to accept said cookie, but at least you will have the option to accept it and to surf the site normally. But here be aware that every third party server will also cause an alert.

NetScape Communicator:  Click on EDIT - PREFERENCES - PRIVACY & SECURITY - COOKIES

Opera:  Click on FILE - PREFERENCES - PRIVACY

HOSTS FILE METHOD:Better than the previous method. Also works regardless of the browser being used. There are two excellent sites to get this type of download from. They also provide tutorials on what the Hosts file is and how to use it properly. This method not only blocks certain annoying third party tracking cookies like DoubleClick, FlySwat, HitBox, Comet Cursor, etc, etc, many of the entries from these two sites will also block some of those annoying ads we have all come to know and love.

http://www.smartin-designs.com/

http://accs-net.com/hosts/

SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS:These are useful utilities for controlling and/or blocking cookies that you don’t want on your computer:

                        CookieWall       Idecide     Cookie Pal      NsClean    IEClean    Spider      WebWasher 

                          Purge IE         Windows Clean Up!        Cookie Muncher: l       PROXOMITRON:


 

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