Browser Cookies and Spyware
Cookies can both help and hinder your web browsing experience. It is, like many computer programs, a technology that can be used and abused. The useful aspects of cookies, however, usually outweigh the possible downfalls.
A cookie is bit of information that is transmitted to a computer user’s browser. Usernames, preferences and previously viewed products are among the many types of information that are stored as cookies. For instance, when you are at an online music store and you put several CDs in your virtual shopping cart, a cookie stores that information. This allows you to click away from the site and go back without being required to search for all of the CDs you already decided you wanted.
The original intended purpose of cookies makes web browsing more convenient. Some advertisers, however, have begun abusing the technology by using cookies as a surveillance tool.
Spyware cookies do not benefit computer users in any way. They exist solely to track what you look at in order to compile marketing information to help sell more of a certain product. These spyware cookies keep track of everything you click on and type into non-secure sites. While most people avoid typing any personal information into non-secure sites, a spyware cookie can piece together a fairly comprehensive profile of you over time.
Taking A Bite Out of Cookie Crime
Getting rid of harmful cookies can be a difficult process since there are many desirable cookies that also exist on any given computer system. Some people will make the drastic move of erasing all cookies from their system, ridding the computer of both the good and the bad. Through the use of antispyware, users now have the option of cleaning their system of only the unwanted cookies.
High quality antispyware can help sift through all of the cookies on a system, determining which are wanted and which are unwanted. The cookies that are used solely to track your Internet browsing are erased.
Along with erasing harmful cookies, antispyware works to wipe out other kinds of spyware and malware from your computer. Since there are dozens of programs on the market, it’s a good idea to keep the following in mind when selecting one:
* Look for a program that promises 100% detection, removal, and protection. A program that can only clean 70% of the cookies and spyware will obviously miss some of the most malicious programs.
* Select antispyware software that guarantees daily automatic updates. To stay ahead of the hackers who are constantly creating new spyware, the software should install regular updates to fight against any new programs that may threaten your computer.
* Good customer service is paramount in the fight against spyware. Computer problems can be incredibly complicated and confusing to the average user. The software company should have well informed customer service representatives on hand to help you with any issues you may encounter.
* An antispyware program that promises general ease of use is also attractive to most consumers. Your involvement should end with the installation of the software. From then on out, a good program will make updates and adjustments when it deems such activities necessary.
Remember that cookies are a useful tool in most instances. It is also important to be aware that they can be used for malicious purposes. General knowledge regarding cookies and spyware can take you a long way in protecting yourself in the big bad virtual world.