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Cookies

This topic perhaps deserves its own chapter, but we will try to keep things concise here and cover all the important points. Most people reading this book have probably heard about cookies on the Internet, and we have mentioned them briefly throughout the book. We will cover the background on the good and bad uses of cookies (after all, they are not all bad) and then get into some of the technical details, as well as a discussion of how cookies are commonly used to monitor and exploit your Web surfing habits.

So, what are cookies? A cookie is a small amount of data stored in a file on your hard drive. When you visit a Web site, it creates a cookie for you and asks your Web browser to store it. The cookie identifies you to the Web site. Web sites pass out cookies like they are identification cards. Not much different from common ID cards you are used to, cookies store information unique to you, expire at a certain time, and are carried around with you.


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