Cookies: Some Helpful Facts

Cookies arenít just a tasty treat; they are also a type of software. Many websites use cookies and browsers such as Yahoo and Google use them too. Basically when you go to some websites, a piece of text from that webpagesí server is transferred and stored onto your computer. When you visit the website again, the website recognizes the program it placed on your hard drive and essentially remembers you.

That is why sometimes you donít have to type in your name and address on some websites, they already know who you are. Cookies also are used to gather information about how you surf the web, such as what types of pages you frequently visit. It might all sound ominous, but these cookies are only storing information that you already have provided. They cannot access your computer and steal information.

These actually can be helpful. For instance, perhaps you are shopping online, but have to log off of your computer for some reason. When you get back online and go back to the store, you probably see that your shopping cart still contains the items you place there. These are remembered because of cookies. When you go to a website and it remembers your username and password, this is also a cookie.

You can clear cookies as well as your browsing history, but typically, unless you are on a shared computer, it usually isnít necessary to do this. In general, when you provide information such as credit card data or other personal info, it is best to do this only on our personal computer or device.

We are all worried about web security, but there are better ways to protect yourself from harm than worrying about cookies. For instance, use different passwords for every website where you store financial information, such as your credit card. Make sure the passwords contain a mix of capital and lower-case letters as well as numbers and possibly symbols.

Be sure to have a good anti-virus program installed on your computer and have a firewall in place to protect your computer network. Be savvy about what you download when you are on the computer. Only download items that you are sure are from trustworthy sources. Donít open suspicious emails; simply put them in the trash. Anytime you see a file in an email or on a web page with an extension on it such as Document.exe, be wary of clicking on it and downloading whatever is on it.

Sometimes, these emails can come from people in your contact list. You might be tempted to trust an email from a friend, but it is possible that the friend has been hacked. Often these emails with have (RE:) in the subject line or have no subject at all. If you are unsure if an email is unsafe, create a new email and ask your friend if they sent the email or if they have been hacked.

About admin

Chris Benson has been building custom PC systems and providing troubleshooting and consulting services for over 15 years. His area of expertise centers on the capabilities, configuration, and troubleshooting of a wide variety of operating systems and has a deep knowledge in all kinds of software.
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