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					                    Internet Cookies: The Good and the Bad

Internet cookies aren’t as complicated as you might think. The majority of cookies are used for
your convenience only, merely a tool companies use to make your visit to their website much
easier and efficient, like saving your log-in information. Other cookies may be used to gather
information from your computer. In fact, many research companies today are utilizing these
cookies so they may find out information that people wouldn’t normally give out, like abortion,
sexual offenses, or gun control information. These are the types of cookies that may, naturally,
raise some concerns about privacy.

Since the year 2000 internet cookies have been a major media spectacle. This is largely due to
the fact that companies are storing information on your computer, simply to retrieve this data at a
later time…but let’s analyze this carefully. Internet cookies are simply name-value pairs, or if
you rather, data with a name and given value. Let’s say that Ebay wants to store a cookie on your
computer that holds your log-in information. The name of the
cookie may be User_ID while the value is a list of numbers and
letters, much like a serial number, that the website may translate
into your actual log-in information. This type of cookie is benign,
and cannot be used to view information on your computer. In fact,
it is very practical, especially if you frequent the website
regularly. These cookies work within the privacy laws to make
your life easier.

On the other hand, there are internet cookies that are utilized to
view personal information stored on your computer, like credit
card information. These cookies work within the privacy laws only if they ask your permission
first. We’ve all seen it before, type in your credit card number and a message pops up asking if
you would like to store this information. It is the almost viral cookie, the one that doesn’t ask
permission to view personal information that is considered unlawful. There have been countless
cases of identity theft utilizing this exact method. Fortunately, the human race has come a long
way in how to protect your computer form this sort of theft. Any computer user with McAfee or
Norton Antivirus shouldn’t worry about this.
                Internet Cookies: The Good and the Bad

Of course, there are ways to disable cookies on your computer. Just click on the privacy setting
button within the toolbar of your internet browser and follow the prompt that will lead you to the
option of disabling the cookies (this is how to enable cookies). However, there are a lot of
websites that won’t actually let you enter any information or make a transaction without first
enabling your cookies. This is not to be a burden for you so much as a benefit; a security setting
made specifically for the user. This actually prevents what is called “Session Hijacking,” where a
hacker will virtually place himself between the user and website, assuming the role of the user
and reaping all the benefits. By enabling your cookies, the website may then make sure that the
information you are giving is form your actual computer and that they don’t, in turn, give your
information to the hacker.

All in all, cookies are a good thing and aren’t quite what they are hyped-up to be. Made
specifically with the convenience of the user in mind, internet cookies are what make browsing
websites both convenient and efficient. Simple anti-virus programs are now capable of blocking
even the most potentially threatening cookies. Of course, when in doubt, disable cookies on your
internet browser and surf away resting assured that your information isn’t being given out freely.

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Description: Just click on the privacy setting button within the toolbar of your internet browser and fo llow the prompt that will lead you to the option of disabli ng the cookies (this is how to enable cookies ) .