Supercookies and Evercookies and No Cookies at All: Resistance Is Futile

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I just read an article talking about so-called “supercookies” and “evercookies” — cookies which are supposedly impossible to delete, and left without the computer user’s permission or even knowledge. What are “supercookies”? What are “evercookies”? And how can I protect my computer from them?

I’ll start out by saying that options to protect yourself from supercookies and evercookies are relatively limited, if effective at all.

Supercookies and evercookies are the result of a website owner’s desire (or more often, the desire of the advertising networks used by websites) to accumulate data about computer users and the sites they visit — even those users who disable or clear cookies in their browser regularly.

Bottom line: clearing cookies isn’t enough — not nearly enough.

And there may be nothing that is.

Read moreSupercookies and Evercookies and No Cookies at All: Resistance Is Futile

What are Browser Cookies and How Are They Used?

In recent years, we’ve seen an increase in the number of sites that include a “This site uses cookies, is that OK?” kind of warning in response to regulations imposed by various countries.

The question assumes, of course, that you know what a cookie is.

It’s a surprisingly simple concept that can be used in a variety of ways, ranging from tracking your behavior across the web to ensuring that you don’t need to log in every time you open even a single email.

Read moreWhat are Browser Cookies and How Are They Used?

Where Do Cookies Come From?

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I have cookies on my computer from websites that no one in my household said they had visited. Is this possible? Is there a way to tell if a cookie was an actual site visited or a third-party cookie?

Yes, it’s very possible to find cookies from websites you’ve never been to. In fact, I’d say it’s almost a certainty.

However, I can’t think of a way of telling third-party cookies apart from those sites you actually visited.

It gets surprisingly complex.

Let’s look at where cookies come from.

Read moreWhere Do Cookies Come From?

Does cleaning cookies force me to re-verify my bank log-in?

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Hi, Leo. I believe that every time I run CCleaner, my bank doesn’t recognize me anymore. I then have to go through a whole rigmarole to get on to my account. It’s been suggested that the cause is that I’ve erased the cookie that my bank site has planted and therefore it doesn’t recognize my PC anymore. How can I identify its cookies so that I can isolate it so that CCleaner will not erase it. If you don’t agree, then what do you think is the problem?

I agree completely.

It’s absolutely the case that banks and other systems make heavy use of cookies to aid you in the quest for security, or to just make it possible for you to go from one page to the next without having to log in for every single page.

So, yes, cleaning out cookies, especially if you’re cleaning out all cookies, does exactly what you’ve described. It will force your bank (and you) to go through those extra steps.

Read moreDoes cleaning cookies force me to re-verify my bank log-in?

How do I view cookies in IE 11?

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How do I view cookies in Internet Explorer 11? There used to be a menu item, but that seems to be gone now.

I had to go searching to figure this one out. While it hasn’t changed a lot, what used to be moderately difficult to discover and easy to do now seems totally obscure.

The good news is that it’s still easy to do.

Read moreHow do I view cookies in IE 11?

What Are Tracking Cookies, and Should They Concern Me?

In two other questions, What can a website I visit tell about me? and What are browser cookies and how are they used? I discussed some of the information that websites get, and techniques that they can use to collect and remember more.

What I didn’t talk about in much detail, is that through clever use of cookies, most typically associated with advertising, it is possible for some services (not sites) to gather a little more information about you. Or a lot.

And thus we have “tracking” and “third party” cookies to talk about.

Read moreWhat Are Tracking Cookies, and Should They Concern Me?

Why Would a Website’s Automatic Sign-in Suddenly Stop Working?

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I recently used PestPatrol and deleted everything it came up with. I believe I deleted something that has to do with the automatic sign in for Comcast and Hotmail accounts. I cleared out everything in the log of PestPatrol too, so I can’t recover anything. QUESTION: Is there any way to get the automatic sign in to work again?

Some of the spyware scanners will report cookies as possible spyware because they could potentially be used by a site to track who you are.

In this case, those cookies are actually quite useful.

Read moreWhy Would a Website’s Automatic Sign-in Suddenly Stop Working?

Does cleaning cookies force me to re-verify my bank login?

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Hi, Leo. I believe that every time I run CCleaner, my bank doesn’t recognize me anymore. I then have to go through a whole rigmarole to get on to my account. It’s been suggested that the cause is that I’ve erased the cookie that my bank site has planted and therefore it doesn’t recognize my PC anymore. I use Firefox on XP. Do you agree? How can I identify its cookies so that I can isolate it so that CCleaner will not erase it. If you don’t agree then, what do you think is the problem?

No, I agree completely. It’s absolutely the case that banks and other systems where you need to log in make heavy use of cookies to aid you in the process to further secure your machine – or to just make it possible for you to go from one page to the next without having to log in for every single page. So, yes, cleaning out the cookies, especially if you’re cleaning out all cookies, does exactly what you’ve described. It will force your bank to go through those extra steps.

Read moreDoes cleaning cookies force me to re-verify my bank login?

How Do I Delete Cookies? And Just What Are Cookies, Anyway?

Cookies aren’t as evil as most stories – and some security tools – might have you believe.

A cookie is nothing more than some information a website can save on your computer that your browser then provides back to that same website the next time you return.

Seriously. That’s it. That’s all. That’s a cookie.

It’s what some sites use cookies for that has some people concerned and why you might care about things like deleting cookies, and perhaps even looking inside of them.

Read moreHow Do I Delete Cookies? And Just What Are Cookies, Anyway?