Definition: Cookies refer to small files that are created by one system using a web browser interacting with a web site. Specifically, if the recipient of a web-based message has the service enabled, the contacted site has the capability of generating and sending a string (text) that is received and stored by the recipient’s computer system. Such a file can contain information that is needed for identification purposes and for the browser session to run more smoothly and more. By definition, a text file that can associate and report a recipient’s activity is spyware. Organizations should address the matter in the formation of security policies.

Its Relevance: The text file that is written to a recipient’s computer can be legitimately used for identification purposes (i.e. to identify you as a legitimate user of a national newspaper). The infrastructure owner must decide whether the service should be enabled to allow the writing of these special tracking files or disabled to block them.

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