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cookies that won't die

#1 User is offline   april1 

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 10:50 AM

I am wondering if I have something malicious in my computer. I find that when I delete cookies, they don't stay deleted. Some of the cookies are to sites that I haven't visited for months. Several nights ago, I had over four hundred cookies in the file; I laboriously deleted all but ten of them, clicked "done", and right before my eyes, in a few seconds, the total went from ten back to 422! I have an iMac, 2.7 GHz Intel Core i5, with OSX, version 10.6.8. Hoping that someone out there can give me some advice as to how to solve this problem
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#2 User is offline   bastion 

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:06 AM

View Postapril1, on 20 November 2012 - 10:50 AM, said:

I am wondering if I have something malicious in my computer. I find that when I delete cookies, they don't stay deleted. Some of the cookies are to sites that I haven't visited for months. Several nights ago, I had over four hundred cookies in the file; I laboriously deleted all but ten of them, clicked "done", and right before my eyes, in a few seconds, the total went from ten back to 422! I have an iMac, 2.7 GHz Intel Core i5, with OSX, version 10.6.8. Hoping that someone out there can give me some advice as to how to solve this problem


You don't mention what browser you're using, what version of it you're using, and how the security preferences relevant to cookies are set.

The short form is that depending on the browser and settings it's possible for a page nominally at one site to create cookies for another if there's content linked from other domains.
Recent versions of Safari changed their cookie handling somewhat so that if you have them blocked they're blocked on the way *out* instead of on the way in.
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#3 User is offline   Martian 

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 11:51 AM

In the case of Safari, I think part of the problem relates to caches. Caches and cookies are intermixed in the "Details" panel for stored website data. Most of the OP's observation goes away if you first "Empty Caches" on Safari's Develop menu.
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#4 User is offline   april1 

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 11:13 AM

Thank you for your responses. Sorry that I forgot to include what browser I am using; it is Safari, version 5.1.7.

I have gone into the Safari preferences and disabled caches, as suggested. Will try that for a couple of days and see what happens. Will be back in a few days to let you know the outcome.
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#5 User is offline   april1 

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 05:22 PM

Well, I have watched my cookie file for several days, and it has crept up to over 100. Some of the cookies are from sites that I have never been to, or have not been to for months. My cookie preferences are set to "Block Cookies: from third parties and advertisers." I'd love to just block ALL cookies, but as you know, many sites will deny me access if I am set up that way.

Sure hope that some of you really smart folks will stop by and give me a few helpful hints.

I am going to reenable caches and see what effect that has.
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#6 User is offline   bastion 

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 08:25 AM

View Postapril1, on 25 November 2012 - 05:22 PM, said:

Well, I have watched my cookie file for several days, and it has crept up to over 100. Some of the cookies are from sites that I have never been to, or have not been to for months. My cookie preferences are set to "Block Cookies: from third parties and advertisers." I'd love to just block ALL cookies, but as you know, many sites will deny me access if I am set up that way.

Sure hope that some of you really smart folks will stop by and give me a few helpful hints.

I am going to reenable caches and see what effect that has.


Version 5.1 is when Apple made the change to Safari such that cookies are blocked outbound rather than inbound. So with you on 5.1.7 there's really nothing stopping new cookies from appear; it's just that depending on your security settings they may or may not actually be sent back out to the site that's interested in them.

As a side-effect of the way web pages are constructed, there's really no guarantee that you won't end up with cookies from sites you haven't (explicitly) been to. All it takes is for you to go to a site that embeds content from the other site. Then, as a practical matter, you've gone there whether you meant it or not.

About the only helpful hints I can offer are:
1. Accept the fact that they'll appear, knowing that as long as you've got your settings right they don't represent a compromise to privacy (assuming that's your concern), or
2. Use a different browser that blocks them inbound instead of outbound.
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#7 User is offline   april1 

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 10:18 AM

Thank you for your response, Bastion. Maybe I'll try using Firefox for a while.

Ah! Life was sooo much simpler, way back when I had an Apple II!
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#8 User is offline   bastion 

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 11:23 AM

View Postapril1, on 26 November 2012 - 10:18 AM, said:

Thank you for your response, Bastion. Maybe I'll try using Firefox for a while.

Ah! Life was sooo much simpler, way back when I had an Apple II!


I presume you're asking and getting more from iMac than the II. ;)

This post has been edited by bastion: 26 November 2012 - 11:24 AM

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#9 User is offline   april1 

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:02 AM

Hmmmm . . .guess you didn't recognize the tongue in cheek!
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