Meet the Cookie Monster
Many teachers and virtually all the students I have sat down with don't really know what a cookie is. With that in mind, here is my description:
A cookie may be information, a file, or a code, installed on YOUR computer by the site you are visiting without your knowledge or awareness. If you don't have your options set to ask you before accepting them, you won't even know your computer is accepting cookies.
They will be set in your computer automatically.
Cookies do serve good and wholesome purposes in most instances. Some cookies are set in order to tell the webmaster you have been there, other cookies might trigger some interesting pyrotechnics, or to play music. But there are also an unknown number of other cookies which might do actual damage to your computer either by accident, or even by design.
In my opinion, Cookies are not a minor problem. At just one site I went to, and from just one page on that site, I was offered 17 (SEVENTEEN) cookies. Then one site for children had a total of 54 cookies. Now, I am the first to admit that 999,999 cookies out of a hundred are good cookies out there. It is the OTHER 99 you have to worry about.
I am sure Reputable sites like Microsoft Network, know why they need to set multiple cookies on every computer cruising to their site. I am sure they are cautious about the cookies THEY are setting. After all, Microsoft invented Internet Explorer and Windows 95 and you know as well as I do you never have any trouble with them crashing or anything, do you?
But, do you want to trust human nature that every site your students choose to browse to will have the same high moral standards as Microsoft? Do you want to trust (for example) the cookies dished up to your computers by Sally's Sweet Sweat Shop when your students come cruising? Considering the cost of school computers, when your students are surfing the web you might want to observe the motto I practice... "There are good cookies and there are bad cookies.
On the theory that I can't tell one cookie from the other and my computer has already been blown completely out of the water fourteen times, I don't take any cookies."
Here's How To Protect Your Computers in Netscape
There are other hazards out there for your personal computers... Here is a review of what Brad Silverberg has to say: February 20, 1997 From the Office of Brad Silverberg Senior Vice President Microsoft Corporation 1 Microsoft Way Redmond, WA 98052 "Malicious code can be written and disguised in many ways -- within application macros, Java applets, ActiveX controls, Navigator plug-ins, Macintosh applications, and more." The FULL letter is available for your use at: Microsoft Security:
No advice on this site should be used
without first contacting a professional in that field.
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