What is a Tracking Cookie?

http://live.pirillo.com/ – Bayliss in the chat room wants to know what a tracking cookie is and what it does.

A cookie is a plain txt file that sits on your computer in a temporary folder that stores data about a browsing session. If you log into a website it generally sets a cookie to temporarily store your information so you don’t have to log in every time you change a page.

A tracking cookie is a cookie that tracks your browsing behaviors. Marketers use this data to understand how users use their partner websites and optimize their networks for the average user that visits their networks.

Some people hate cookies, claim they’re spyware, and always delete them. Personally, we’re not exactly worried about them: unless you’ve shared your personal information, the tracking cookies are only going to report browsing habits which helps generate a bunch of marketing statistic.

Really, we think the only time you need to worry about cookies is when you’re on a public computer – like at school or an Internet cafe. In this instance, you should clear the cookies after you’re done so any stored information – such as login information – will not be stored on that computer.

What do you think? Are cookies really dangerous?

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36 thoughts on “What is a Tracking Cookie?”

  1. tracking me online is not only immoral and a violation of my privacy but shoud be illegal as well

    if i want to share this info, it is my choice. it should not be done without my knowledge or consent

    and what if i do share confidential info, none their buisness

  2. how do i know my email address is goin yo be kept private!?!?!?
    joking im jus wondering i did a spyware scan and wondered wht 289 trackinng cookies were doin there if they were good then sureley it wouldnt have detected them? what shall i do with tthem?

  3. what is a “forsee loyalty” cookie? we know it’s a tracker, and a google search says it’s only set on apple comps, but i am running WinXP and it has shown up in my firewall alerts.

  4. Their not tracking the files on your computer. Just the stuff you do and other people do on the website. And logically one should never use their private ISP email for websites anyway. Yahoo and gmail suit perfectly… They can send all the spam they want to those. And as far as spy ware. Thats a tough call, in a sense they are using it to track information about what visitors do on their site so no, but the thought of big brother watching over you kinda offsetting. I believe majority of cookies are harmless. Do your selves a favor, ditch Internet Explorer and go to Mozilla/Firefox. Much more secure.

  5. if nothing is harming my computer, i dont see what is so bad about people tracking my interests so they can better advertise… at least the banners wont be completely distracting if i dont hate them.

    the only thing i wouldnt like is their using my email or personal information for anything.

    as long as it is anonymous, i dont mind.

  6. Tracking cookies bleed from Mozilla as well now, sadly. Honestly the concept is sound but they should ask if you want to send information about your browsing habits. It isn’t acceptable for someone to rummage through your garbage to find out your eating habits, or to go through your shopping cart while at the store… so why is it ‘okay’ to do so online?

    If one day I decide to look up say.. fighting games, as a present for someone, then suddenly I’m getting spammed with junk related to fighting, how is that effective marketing? Its annoying. Its aggravating. Its just not fair.

  7. My scan is still running, and so far, it says I’ve got 87 so far! I’m never leaving a public computer without clearing the cookies first ever again!

  8. It seems the world is fixed on cookies when they are not as much of a threat as beacons. These hidden files can store tons of info you share with websites. I did a scan with a program called qusum and found 490 some of these that tracked every visit, click and what I bought.
    Cookies are so old school, most major websites use the hidden cookie instead.

  9. Well. I just found a lot of “Tracking Cookie” (On my own computer) But it haven’t been marked as danger or Damageable.
    So i really don’t think its a big of problem, like Horses or Worms.

  10. DEAR ABBY: I found a tracking cookie in my norton and it tripped me out. I almost called up this girl cookie to say wtf? i found this site and now im at ease and you saved me from an akward convo. so for that I gotta say thanx bud! I am also wondering if the person gettin rid of my viruses(my innocent aunt) will see where they came from. She wont be snoopin around or anything but I dont want her virgin eyes to burn out because endless porn is flashin in here face. or will the text of the sites be available for her to comment on. I dont really care if i get tracked but I just didnt want her to see a side of me that either of us exxxpected! PLEASE HELP me from an akward BBQ. No disrespect on the abby part but after typing it seemed necessary. HA! Thanx again

  11. How can you voluntarily remove cookies? Norton brought them to MY attention so….. thx

  12. Thank you for that information. I saw a tracking cookie on my computer and thought that something was really wrong with it. I started a full scan but nothing else was found. Thank you for the video because I read some other things and called best buy and that didn’t help at all. Thanks


  13. Computer Caveman’s comment was the funniest comment (on anything) that I’ve read in a long time. But anyways, thanks for the info. I’m running a scan for the first time in a couple years…

  14. i have avg 8 and its calling the tracking cookies “infections” i think the tracking cookies are acting like trojan because games won’t run on my computer, and it’s getting slower every day. its not calling it a threat though, but im pretty sure avg’s over looking a trojan horse… i should go back to norton (works great). is there any thing i shold worry about these trackers?

  15. I’m honestly not certain what cookies can store, but so far as I know they’re generally benign. They’re flagged by anti-malware software because they are, technically, a violation of privacy – and if you really care then by all means remove them. They shouldn’t effect your computer significantly.
    As for removing them, Firefox and Chrome, and I assume any other decent browser, will provide options for viewing and deleting cookies, usually in settings/preferences->privacy->cookies or similar. Elsewise, just quickscan with about any anti-malware program.
    Personally, I let them be. Getting rid of them seems mostly a waste of my time.

  16. i just think the companies or the browsers who want to know about me should ask for the permission its my habbit no one the world have a right seek in my private world

  17. Use Spyware doctor, gets rids of that crap easily without any problems;) has a massive file defention for all types of malicious files etc etc, avg+norton = fail, ESET NOD32 Is where its at;)

  18. I noticed tonight that I have a tracking cookie on my computer from my ex-boss’ website, a totally obsessive man who likes to spy on me. I bet he has gotten his kicks seeing where all I’ve been online. Heck, he probably even knows about that sexy lingerie I bought for Valentine’s Day to surprise my husband with. This is an example of how tracking cookies can violate someone’s privacy and on a very personal level. I hate tracking cookies! I think they should be banned.

  19. To all those people angry about ‘illegal’ and ‘immoral’ cookies –
    You dummies, it’s your web browser that accepts the cookies! It’s as easy as setting your browser to ‘don’t accept’ cookies and you won’t get any. Think before you post.

  20. The danger of the tracking cookies is that it transforms your computer activities to a third party. It is very dangerous.

  21. i was just wondering what they were now that i know that they prob wont hurt me in any way i wont run scan after scan for viruses

  22. “Relatively benign” is not benign. A cold is relatively benign compared with an Asian flu, but it can be very nasty and even injurious to your health by weakening your immune system. Mr Pirillo is reassuring, but it is a false reassurance.

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