Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Tea and Tracking Cookies

A garden tea party, including a variety of cookies, is a delightful way to entertain friends. However, computer users have been taught that certain cookies deposited on their computer when they visit websites are detrimental to their privacy.

In reviewing Ad-Aware logfiles on security forums for a number of years, in many cases, the posters are more concerned about the "tracking cookies" detected than objects noted as a "Possible Browser Hijack attempt" or potential "Malware". Perhaps it is the sheer number of those detections that is the concern. It is also likely that the repetion over the years of being told to remove tracking cookies to protect their privacy made an impact on perceptions of the danger of such cookies. Then again, at one time, tracking cookies were often the most serious findings by the various scanners, not browser hijackers, trojans and, now, rootkits.

Ben Edelman was asked by Vinny Lingham and Clicks2Customers to test the current state of cookie detections by major anti-spyware programs. Ben created a suite of cookies and ran tests in a Virtual environment to see which cookies are most affected. He selected the leading anti-spyware programs that detect cookies for the tests.

Ben's analysis, Sponsored by Clicks2Customers, is available at "Cookies Detected by Anti-Spyware Programs: The Current Status". As always, Ben's thoroughness is evident. Also evident, in my opinion, is his objectiveness with regard to the programs used in the testing.

For the time being, I will leave you to read Ben's analysis and draw your own opinions. However, since this blog is directed toward the home computer user, in the near future I will follow up this posting with tips you can use to keep your computer's cookie consumption within a reasonable sugar level. Wink

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