Are Internet cookies spyware?

Updated: 12/20/2017 by Computer Hope

Yes, and No. As mentioned in our definition of a cookie, a cookie is a small text file saved on your computer that is used to store information about your computer and the site you're visiting. A cookie does not keep track of every website you visit or log information you enter into a website.

The only site would have access to the cookie file is the site that created it and that file only contains information about you that relates to that site. For example, it may store the last time you visited the page or keep you logged into a site, so you don't have to log into the page each time you visit.

Unlike spyware, a cookie cannot track everything you do. It will not make your computer slow, will not generate more advertising, and will not affect your computer's performance.

My anti-spyware program says cookies on my computer are spyware

There are some spyware developers who've decided to include cookies and tracking cookies in their listing of detected spyware. Although some programs may list cookies as spyware, they're not a threat to the computer. However, some people have privacy concerns when it comes to tracking cookies on the computer.

A tracking cookie is a cookie on a computer that advertisers use to store unique information about your computer (e.g., your IP address) that help a company identify your computer online. Tracking cookies helps the advertising company that created the cookie to deliver ads it believes you'd be most interested in viewing on any site using its advertising network.

It's up to you to decide if you want to save or delete these files. Apart from the potential privacy concerns, tracking cookies pose no threat to your computer.

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