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Everyone wants to be like Malwarebytes

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  • 1 year later...
  • 1 year later...

Hehe, Malwarebytes doesn't detect tracking cookies, so that will never happen.  I wish I could say the same about other scanners, but sadly I can't.  Many of them do in fact classify some cookies as threats.  For reference, a cookie is not and cannot be a dangerous thing.  It isn't malware, it isn't even software; it's a text file, that's it.  It is used by websites to determine if you have been there before and if you have any saved/customized settings for the page (like when you login and/or change the page layout etc.) and they can also be read by other sites you visit meaning they can be used to track your online browsing habits.  The problem is the tracking though as far as privacy is concerned, not the cookies.  Removing cookies after the fact does absolutely nothing to improve your privacy.  If you want to do that you need to either block the tracking servers (something the new Malwarebytes browser extension beta for Chrome and Firefox will do) or block cookies via your web browser (all current web browsers allow you to determine how cookies are handled and whether or not to allow them etc., including MS Edge and IE).  If you want to delete the "dangerous" cookies (i.e. tracking cookies, which aren't actually any different from any other cookies) then you can just clear your cookies and browsing history using the functionality built into your browser rather than going through an entire malware scan with some product to have it detect and quarantine specific ones.  It's faster and more efficient to just nuke them all.

Of greater concern are things like Evercookies and similar technologies which aren't addressed by malware scanners (not even the ones that detect cookies, sorry but it's true) and can only be dealt with by taking special measures like running a more advanced history cleaning tool such as CCleaner or outright blocking the servers that you don't want tracking you (again, refer to the Malwarebytes browser extension beta) as that's the only way to prevent being tracked via those means.  You also have fingerprinting to worry about which doesn't use cookies at all but still allows trackers to identify your system when visiting a webpage.  Those are trickier to deal with unless, again, you block access to the tracking servers so they cannot see your machine.

Now, with all of that said, you also must realize that not all cookies are bad.  Some have chocolate chips and are quite tasty.  Just be sure to read the ingredients carefully in case you have a peanut allergy or something similar as you don't want to accidentally cause yourself to have a bad reaction.  Of course, this could be why these malware scanners target cookies, maybe they're just hungry and have a bit of a sweet tooth :P .  Malwarebytes on the other hand gets all it needs in the way of nourishment by feeding on actual threats like Trojans, PUPs, ransomware and rootkits so it doesn't need to raid your stash of cookies to get enough to eat.  It gets plenty of food just munching on real malware ;) .

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20 minutes ago, TescoBrandJewels said:

I mean, Jesus. But I did have tracking cookies from a lot of adware sites I had been redirected to that one time so uh. Yeah. Browser extension then...

Yep, good idea.  These days especially, big data=big money so more sites and companies are tracking user activity and data than ever before with companies like Google and Microsoft doing things that quite frankly would have been classified as straight up malicious adware and/or spyware back in the early days of such threats (long before Malwarebytes ever existed) so using tools such as the Malwarebytes browser extension beta, a good ad blocker, a good tracking server block list (functionality available in Adblock Plus among others) and/or using an ad/tracker/telemetry blocking HOSTS file (such as the one provided by Malwarebytes' own Web Protection Research team over at hosts-file.net) is a good idea if you are concerned about privacy and tracking online.

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