Are you secure online ?
Question : What
information can websites get about me when I visit them ? Can they figure
out my e-mail address ?
Answer : Normally there's no way a website can "steal" your e-mail
address just because you visit it.
But that doesn't mean that websites can't find out a good deal of
information about you when you stop by. Websites today can log a lot of
information about you, including what browser you're using, which operating
system you have installed on your computer, and where you're hooking up to
the Internet from.
A website -- and your Internet service provider -- can also log your IP
address, which is a unique number that identifies your specific PC on the
A malicious website could plant a virus on your PC that then tracks your
movement online or even upload information stored on your PC. That's why
it's important to have security software installed on your computer -- and
to avoid sites you don't trust.
Gaming sites and those that feature pornography are the most notorious
for hosting malicious software, whether knowingly or not.
Microsoft makes available to users of Windows a malicious software
removal tool, which you can download for free (
http://tinyurl.com/5lyxe ). You can
run this in conjunction with other antivirus or antispyware software.
Are Internet cookies dangerous ?
Answer : Almost never. Cookies are essentially
small text files that are deposited into a special
folder on your computer. The files are used by the
websites to maintain enough information about you so
that you are remembered when you return. If you were to
open a cookie file, you'd see the name of the site that
deposited it, along with a bunch of numbers and some
-odd-looking special characters. The cookies never
contain sensitive information -- such as passwords --
are just text files and do not contain any executable
code, they can't be used to launch a malicious program
on your PC.