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Symantec warns of tracking cookie risk

Tracking cookies keep track of your browsing history, including personal details

The detection most frequently encountered by Symantec antivirus users are tracking cookies.
The detection most frequently encountered by Symantec antivirus users are tracking cookies.

According to security software firm Symantec the most consistent type of detections noticed over the past year are not viruses or Trojans, but tracking cookies.

Unlike traditional cookies that store data about site visits and expire once the browser window is closed, tracking or persistent cookies keep a log of all your browsing information and do not expire at the end of the session.

Tracking cookies may have benefits such as allowing websites to track visitor information so that they can customise ads to suit customer needs, but it can potentially also be used by cybercriminals to obtain personal and confidential data including bank account and credit card details.

"Luckily this isn't the sign of an underreported, massive outbreak in the threat landscape. Tracking cookies do what they say on the tin: they track your browsing habits. And while many cookies serve a useful purpose and are used on many websites, tracking cookies can be considered a privacy concern," writes Ben Nahorney from Symantec.

Symantec adds their key concern is that not many people are familiar with what tracking cookies do and the privacy issues they pose.

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