How harmful are tracking cookies?

Discussion in 'other anti-virus software' started by Mortal Raptor, Jan 31, 2015.

  1. Mortal Raptor

    Mortal Raptor Banned

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    I only install SAS to scan for and remove tracking cookies and while F-Secure AV and Norton both do scan for tracking cookies as well, SAS finds way more stuff.

    Now this brings a question is to are they really bad? I mean if they were downloaded while I was browsing despite me having ABP installed + the Easy Privacy Filter, they were still downloaded and may have done the harm already since SAS isn't running in realtime to stop them so does removing them or not really matter if there were already downloaded and probably tracked me while I was browsing?

    The reason I ask is to see whether SAS is really necessary to be installed in the first place because I don't trust any security company bundling programs (checkmarked by default) in the installation. SAS includes Google Chrome with 2 checkboxes that need to be unchecked otherwise Chrome will silently be installed and I don't want it!

    Stuff it just found......

    2015-01-31_105453.png
     
  2. Krusty

    Krusty Registered Member

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    Why not block third-party cookies in your browsers? This will stop most tracking cookies installing in the first place.

    You could also install the Ghostery extension in Firefox. There are others too.

    Some people don't see the use of SpywareBlaster these days but I install it and never get tracking cookies.

    Tracking cookies aren't harmful, but could be considered a privacy issue.

    Cheers.
     
  3. Impet

    Impet Registered Member

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    You could block third-party cookies and then uninstall the cookie remover SAS. :D
     
  4. Minimalist

    Minimalist Registered Member

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    I agree with both previous answers. Blocking 3rd party cookies or regularly removing them (I use CCleaner) will solve the problem. You don't need SAS for that.
     
  5. anon

    anon Registered Member

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    Last edited: Jan 31, 2015
  6. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    Cookies are harmless. But since they can be used for tracking purposes for advertising, then it makes sense to remove them.
     
  7. Minimalist

    Minimalist Registered Member

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  8. Mortal Raptor

    Mortal Raptor Banned

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    wouldn't blocking 3rd party logins break the web for me? what about my login cookies used for forums and all other sites? would blocking 3rd party cookies make me have to login each visit to a site?
     
  9. Minimalist

    Minimalist Registered Member

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    No it shouldn't break many sites. Your login data would not be removed and you wouldn't have to login each time you visit a site. I have them disabled and didn't encounter any problems yet.
     
  10. Mortal Raptor

    Mortal Raptor Banned

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    Thanks man, I'll try it then
     
  11. Mortal Raptor

    Mortal Raptor Banned

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    Man I disabled 3rd party cookies and for some reason all websites now load almost instantly with 0 lag! in the past there was some lag! I don't know if disabling 3rd party cookies did this magic or it's some placebo effect! this is amazing! thank you so much for this great tip which I never dared to try before thinking it would break my logins but it didn't
     
  12. Nevis

    Nevis Registered Member

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    Cookies just want to know more about ( someone is interested in you :D ) and send data to server for better advertisement target.. something you are likely to be intersted in and perhaps buy.

    Most of them are not security risk. Sometimes I even wonder whether they are good ... atleast due to them I see better advertisement than matrimonial sites... advertisement play a crucial role in revenue. .. a topic of debate.
     
  13. Mayahana

    Mayahana Banned

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    Based on recently released classified documents we find that intelligence agencies still use cookies to spy. Therefore it's wise to block them when possible. I filter most known cookies from tracking/spying/adware firms at the ROUTER LEVEL (L7 Untangle). Some manage to make it though, but only until I add custom filters for them.

    Use Tab Cookies for Chrome, it will block cookies on a per-tab level, and clear them when the tab is closed. VERY good tool, and fully automated. Just click the cookie icon to save the cookie for that particular tab.

    https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/tab-cookies/iahecghojagkcoehfhfknajofkokndjm?hl=en
     
  14. Mortal Raptor

    Mortal Raptor Banned

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    I use Firefox
     
  15. Triple Helix

    Triple Helix Webroot Product Advisor

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    Cookies are still consider harmless and nothing has changed.

    TH
     
  16. Mayahana

    Mayahana Banned

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    Only someone relatively inexperienced about privacy and security considers cookies harmless. Most malware remediation engineers I know scan for cookies as part of remediation, counterintel folks I know pay very close attention to cookies. Good security software scans for suspicious cookies (Norton, Trend, Emsisoft, etc) Exploits have also been discovered in browsers which allows the hacker to ‘harvest’ information from cookies using spyware software. This type of information is typically login information for servers. As cookies are transmitted back and forth between a browser and website, if an attacker or unauthorized person gets in between the data transmission, the sensitive cookie information can be intercepted. Other attack methods involve exploiting faulty cookie-setting systems on servers. If a website doesn’t require browsers to use encrypted channels only, attackers can use this vulnerability to trick browsers into sending sensitive information over insecure channels. The attackers then siphon off the sensitive data.

    http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2013/12...-uses-cookies-to-select-surveillance-targets/
    NSA uses Google's cookies to select surveillance targets

    http://panampost.com/panam-staff/20...ents-reveal-canada-tracking-global-downloads/
    British spy agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), and stores billions of internet cookies that can be used to reconstruct activity.

    https://blog.malwarebytes.org/malvertising-2/2014/11/the-proof-is-in-the-cookie/
    The proof is in the cookie
     
  17. Mortal Raptor

    Mortal Raptor Banned

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    Yes when I had Norton Security it did scan and delete tracking cookies, so does my F-Secure Anti-Virus which I use now as well.
     
  18. skp14

    skp14 Registered Member

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    Tracking cookies do just that, track you. Some are websites, some advertising, some Gov't?. I prefer to have NO tracking cookies following me, maybe a little while for the current surfing session.
    2 tools I use are:
    1) Better Privacy add-on for Firefox, deletes all tracking cookies when browser is closed. - https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/betterprivacy/
    2) Flash Cookie Cleaner - http://www.majorgeeks.com/files/details/flash_cookie_cleaner.html - Searches for any Flash Cookies/LSO's and deletes them.
    I also use Disconnect with Firefox and Google - https://disconnect.me/ - to block unwanted stuff. You can disable it anytime, just by clicking "whitelist site".
     
  19. KeyPer4Life

    KeyPer4Life Registered Member

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  20. Impet

    Impet Registered Member

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    Is it possible that Firefox is able to delete flash cookies? I deleted all cookies in Firefox and the flash cookie directory was empty as well. o_O
     
  21. Minimalist

    Minimalist Registered Member

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  22. skp14

    skp14 Registered Member

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    You can take this action to delete the Flash cookies, which takes some time and is fine. But I like the easy options of Better Privacy for FF as it cleans them automatically when you close the browser, and Disconnect for FF and Chrome that blocks many others. Flash Cookie Cleaner searches for any others on your drive. Also Flash Cookies/LSO's do NOT expire like other cookies, unless you delete them! ESPN puts about 8-10 Flash Cookies on your system each time you visit the site!
     
  23. Brummelchen

    Brummelchen Registered Member

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    drop ghostery - it breaks firefox in some cases (emtpy panes, malfunctions etc)
     
  24. Triple Helix

    Triple Helix Webroot Product Advisor

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  25. zfactor

    zfactor Registered Member

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    i block them normally but a few sites like outlook mail need them so it depends. but normally i block them.
     
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