Thursday, 14 April 2011

Risks in Allowing Cookies and How to Prevent Them

Cookies are small pieces of texts that are stored by web servers to enhance your surfing. These are aids to speed up your downloading, website browsing and even to allow functionalities of the sites that you are visiting.

Usually cookies being stored by web servers are the user IDs and passwords if you allow your browsers to remember your login details. But some websites are storing more cookies. These sites are normally those who display advertisements for their targeted advertising activities. For example, cookies from your search keywords can help them display the necessary advertisements for you, the somewhat the same products that you are searching on the net.


Cookies are not harmful but can be used for information theft and other malicious activities. They normally have expirations so they will be deleted in a period of time, usually after your browsing sessions. However, there are cookies that stay for a long time like allowed to remember login details.


Despite that many cookies have expirations, it is always better to clean your cookies regularly. Although they can enhance your browsing experiences, it is risky to keep them for a long time.


With so many advancements happening in the internet, regardless of how protected you think your computer is, there is still a possibility that some malwares might visit you and retrieve your stored cookies for nasty activities.


If you are using public computers, it is advisable to remove your cookies after browsing. If you are using your own computer, clean your PC regularly, remove cookies and run updated anti-virus and spyware protection tools.


How to Remove Cookies from Mostly Used Browsers


Firefox




    1. Go to “Tools”.

    2. Select “Clear Recent History”.

    3. Choose from “Time range to clear”.

    4. Check “Cookies” option.

    5. Click “Clear Now”.



Chrome




    1. Click the tool icon at the top right part of your browser.

    2. Select “Options”.

    3. Select “Under the Hood” tab.

    4. Click “Clear browsing data” button.

    5. Select time frame from dropdown.

    6. Check “Delete cookies and other site data”.

    7. Click “Clear browsing data”.



Internet Explorer




    1. Click “Tools”.

    2. Select “Delete Browsing History”.

    3. Check “Cookies”.

    4. Click “Delete”. 



Safari




    1. Click the tool icon at the top right part of your browser.

    2. Select “Reset Safari”.

    3. Click “Remove all cookies”.

    4. Click “Reset”.



Opera




    1. Click “Tools”.

    2. Select “Delete Private Data”.

    3. Expand “Detailed Options”.

    4. Check “Delete all cookies”.

    5. Click “Delete”.



Suggested Free Protection Tools



  1. Google PC Spyware Tool

  2. Avast Free Antivirus


There are also so many online protection tools that you may run to clean your computer. Just carefully choose them and be safe against malwares who use cookies against your online reputations.


Image: Arvind Balaraman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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