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|Cookies are small
information / identification files that many Web sites
attempt to place onto your computer.
Unlike the ranting of the popular? press and the scare mongering of a few sites on the Web, probably 99.9%+ of cookies used on the Internet are harmless, identifying your computer by placing information, not obtaining it. This allows for the tracking of your visit and perhaps identifying return visits etc.
Cookies can be placed / read either by complex java scripts included in the html code, or via commands sent by server side programs.
At more risk every day
Browser software etc of the major software companies is scrutinised by software scientists and students, and its actions known; not so the plethora of utility programs. Any computer program can be written to scan your computer while it is running, in the background, and store information. If the program is later running while you are on the Web, it is also an easy task for that program to send information with out you knowing. Yet we do not seem to worry about it. So why the fuss about cookies?
Information is received all the
Cookies are 'text only' files. Information (mostly identifiers and dates) contained in them cannot hold sensitive details UNLESS those details are already obtained by other means like you filling out a personal details form. Conforming to the protocol, server generated IDs etc are encrypted, stopping other scripts from understanding the information. If at all concerned, delete cookies from your cookies folder regularly.
Cookies can be deleted at startup
C:\windows\command\attrib -r -s -h C:\windows\cookies\*.txt
For browsers that place cookies into one file (ie Netscape), replace the paths and file name(s) in the above two lines with the appropriate details. The wildcard " * " character means "all files", but in this case, with the .txt extension.
The first line ensures that file attributes are set for deletion. The second line then deletes those files. Double check your spelling so that only the required files are deleted. If there aren't any files to delete on startup, you will see a harmless 'File Not Found' error message.
Your browser can alert you before accepting cookies.
From this point on you will get an Alert Box whenever a server is trying to send a cookie to your browser. You will be shown the cookie data, and perhaps its life span before your browser deletes it. Some sites get carried away and send multiple cookies - so be prepared for lots of clicking.
The cookies.txt files can be found in the Windows 'Cookies' folder, or in the Macintosh MagicCookie folder. If your browser does not use these folders, look for cookie files in the Browser Program folders (ie Windows Netscape).
Internet Explorer saves each cookie as an easily selected separate file, whereas Netscape includes them all in one.
Remember, it is impossible for a cookie to get information.
.netscape.com TRUE / FALSE 1609372800 NS_REG
2. This cookie was sent by my HTML / DTP Forum Page. It contains references to (does not store) secured data only. This way I could greet return visitors with their name and submission boxes already filled in, and number new entries since their last visit.
www.dtp-aus.com FALSE /cgi-bin/ FALSE 946598400
The "%" sign and following two characters are just ASCII escape codes (non alpa-numeric characters) in hexadecimal representation.
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