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October 17, 2009

All About Cookies You Need To Know

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Written by: arunenigma


What is a Cookie?

A cookie is a text-only string that gets entered into the memory of your browser. This value of a variable that a website sets. If the lifetime of this value is set to be longer than the time you spend at that site, then this string is saved to file for future reference.

What are the purposes of cookies?

Cookies make the interaction between users and web sites faster and easier. Without cookies, it would be very difficult for a web site to allow a visitor to fill up a shopping cart or to remember the user’s preferences or registration details for a future visit. Web sites use cookies mainly because they save time and make the browsing experience more efficient and enjoyable. Web sites often use cookies for the purposes of collecting demographic information about their users. Cookies enable web sites to monitor their users’ web surfing habits and profile them for marketing purposes (for example, to find out which products or services they are interested in and send them targeted advertisements).

Are cookies dangerous?

In a nutshell the answer is no. Cookies are small pieces of text. They are not computer programs, and they can’t be executed as code. Also, they cannot be used to disseminate viruses, and versions of Internet Browsers such as IE, Firefox etc.. allow users to set their own limitations to the number of cookies saved on their hard drives. However, as i said in the previous paragraph, some cookies do track internet browsing and provide a certain level of infomation that the user may not warm to. The truth is that revealing any kind of personal information opens the door for that information to be spread, but we are talking about primitive internet usage and not your bank details.

How do Browsers handle Cookies?

Most browsers offer the following cookie choices:

* Accept all cookies
* Accept only cookies that get sent back to originating server
* Disable all cookies
* Warn me before accepting a cookie.

How to Delete and Control Cookies?

You can easily delete cookies from your computer. Procedure to delete cookies in Apple Mactinosh

Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 (MacOS X)

Choose Preferences from Explorer menu
Select Receiving Files options
Select Cookies
Select the Cookies to be deleted from the list
Press Delete button

Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 (MacOS 9)

Choose Preferences from Edit menu
Select Receiving Files options
Select Cookies
Select the Cookies to be deleted from the list
Press Delete button

Procedure to delete cookies in FireFox

Choose Cookie Manager from the Tools menu.
Choose Manage Stored Cookies.
Remove any cookie from the list, or remove all cookies.
Return to top

Procedure to delete cookies in Netscape Navigator 7.x

Choose Cookie Manager from the Tools menu.
Choose Manage Stored Cookies.
Remove any cookie from the list, or remove all cookies.

Netscape Navigator 6.x

Choose Cookie Manager from the Tools menu.
Choose Manage Stored Cookies.
Remove any cookie from the list, or remove all cookies.

Procedure to delete cookies in Safari 1.0 (MacOS X)

Choose Preferences from Safari menu
Select Security icon
Press Show Cookies button
Select the Cookies to be deleted from the list
Press Delete button

Procedure to delete cookies in Opera

To delete all cookies at the end of every session, select it in the privacy settings under

Opera > Preferences.

Click on Manage cookies to delete specific cookies or cookies from specific domains.
To delete all cookies immediately, go to Delete private data on the Tools menu.

You can also control the amount of cookies that make their way onto your computer. You can read how to restrict various cookies from http://www.aboutcookies.org/Default.aspx?page=1



About the Author

arunenigma
Computer Science Graduate Student @ Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, USA




 
 

 
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