Photo Courtesy of Scubadive67 from Creative Commons
Cookies aren’t just a delicious treat with milk. Cookies are text files that are created when users visit websites. They store information such as shopping cart contents, registration or log in credentials, and user preferences.
Different Types of Cookies
You should be aware that there are different types of cookies. There are first and third party cookies, and also session cookies. First party cookies relate to the website you are actually using, while third party cookies come from websites that have ads on the site you are viewing.
Session cookies are different from regular cookies because they are not stored on the computer you are using. When you close out of the session, they are removed and are therefore, less of a security risk.
Why should you be concerned about cookies?
While cookies can be a time-saver and are necessary for some sites to work correctly, they also have some potential security risks because they can open your computer up to threats from spyware and worms. For example, the Koobface worm used the social networking site Facebook to help spread its malicious code.
While executing on an affected user’s system, these worms search for cookies related to Facebook. Once a match is found, the worms access the user’s Facebook profile using the credentials contained in the cookie files. The worms then modify the user’s Facebook profile to include a link pointing to malware to infect more systems.
Set Your Web Browser Properly
Most web browsers allow users to determine when cookies are sent, or if they can be sent at all. Again, some sites will not function properly without cookies, so you need to set your browser accordingly.