What are Cookies?
Cookies are tiny bits of data your computer uses to create a personalized experience when you’re using the internet. Websites you visit place the cookie on your PC, and they are used to retrieve useful information for sites that you use frequently. For example, when you login to your email account, you may see that your email address and password have been entered into the login fields before you type anything. This is cookies in action, and most of the time, cookies are a benign and useful tool. Most websites will display a sign asking for your permission before storing the cookies on your machine.
How Do I Delete Cookies?
More to the point, what are the circumstances when you would delete cookies? You would delete cookies when you’ve accessed a computer at a friend’s house or an internet cafe, and you don’t want he next user to access online accounts for the various sites you have personal access to. Also, cookies can be superfluous — and downright annoying — when you’re trying to login to a site as a different user, but your PC has remembered one set of login information and uses that to automatically take you through sign-in (for example, where you have a personal and work email account with the same email provider).
Delete your cookies through your browser’s menu by following these steps:
Internet Explorer 6
Select Tools -> Internet Options -> General -> Delete Cookies -> Yes -> OK
Internet Explorer 7
Select Tools -> Delete Browsing History -> Delete Cookies -> Yes
Select Tools -> Clear Private Data -> select the Cookies checkbox -> Clear Private Data Now
How do I know if cookies are spyware?
Most cookies are useful, but a small percentage are not. A spyware cookie is a cookie that looks for personal information on your hard drive and send that information to the owner of the website that placed the cookie. It could be simple information like the websites you visit, but it could be much worse or illegal, for example, stealing credit card data or personal information to carry out identify theft. Most websites that have these cookies (also called malware for “malicious spyware”) have been detected, and your browser will display a big red sign before the page opens, warning you not to proceed to the website.
However, no matter how careful you might be, you are always susceptible for malicious spyware through email or undetected websites. To be certain your PC is clear, you would be best to download a free program to check your hard drive and clear out any programs designed to harm your computer or access your personal data. You can find a recommended free software download to check your hard drive by clicking here.