Computer Cookie - Working, Vulnerability and Security

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Computer Cookie - Working, Vulnerability and Security

Computer cookies are small piece of information in text format that’s sent to an web browser by an web server. This information can be accessed either by the web server or by the client computer. Cookie information can be used for authentication, identification of a user session, user's preferences, shopping cart contents, or anything else that can be accomplished through storing text data.

What are the types of Cookie?
  • Session cookie
  • Persistent cookie
  • Secure cookie
  • HttpOnly cookie
  • First-Party Cookie
  • Third-Party Cookie
  • Super cookie
  • Zombie cookie
  • Unsatisfactory Cookie

Role of Cookie in Internet
Session Management
Session management is the process of keeping track of a user's activity across sessions of interaction with the computer system.
Cookies may be used to remember the information about the user who has visited a website in order to show relevant content in the future. For example a web server may send a cookie containing the username last used to log in to a web site so that it may be filled in for future visits.
Tracking cookies may be used to track internet users' web browsing habits. This can also be done in part by using the IP address of the computer requesting the page or the referrer field of the HTTP request header, but cookies allow for greater precision.

How to View Cookies in Web Browser?
Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • Open the Microsoft Internet Explorer software program.
  • Click on “Tools” in the main menu area of the Internet Explorer browser.
  • Scroll down and select “Internet Options” from the tools menu.
  • Look under the Browsing History section on the General settings tab.
  • Press the “Settings” button.
  • Select the “View Files” button and scroll down until you see the files labeled as cookies.
Mozilla Firefox
  • Start or open your Firefox Internet browser.
  • Select the “Tools” option from the main menu of the Firefox 3 software program.
  • Find the “Options” setting on the tools menu and click on it.
  • Click on the “Privacy” button.
  • Locate the “Use Setting for history” tab and select the “Show Cookies”.
Google Chrome
  • Launch your Google Chrome Internet browser.
  • Find the wrench icon located on the main menu and right click on it.
  • Choose “Options” from the menu.
  • Locate and select the “Under the Hood” tab.
  • Look under cookie settings and press “Show Cookies.”
Apple Safari
  • Open the Safari Internet browser software program.
  • Click on “Preferences” in the main browser menu.
  • Discover the “Security” tab and click on it.
  • Select the “Show Cookies” option on the Security.

Vulnerability on Cookies
Cookies are tracking devices for websites They keep track of commonly used information to help your browser operate more efficiently. They usually won't store passwords but often times track browser history, usernames, and other possible identifiers that can be used to gain access to accounts or exploit security vulnerabilities in your computer. Often they are simply text or web URL files so they won’t contain programs (i.e. viruses). The problem that cookies pose is that they have the ability to “share” this information over the internet.

How to Prevent Cookie from hackers?
  • Delete all cookies or individual cookies from your browser regularly
  • Use an updated antivirus in your system
  • Enable a firewall in your system
  • Use HTTP Secure Connection if available (Click here for SSL Search engine)