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Kudos0

Tracking Cookies Found!

Hi everyone,

Just decided to do a manual quick scan having had a long session gaming and imagine my surprise when my Norton Security found two tracking cookies. It has been one year barring 3 days that the last ones were found on my pc. I even did a post asking why no cookies were being found anymore. I wonder if anything changed recently as I wasn't expecting to ever find these anymore.

Replies

Kudos0

Re: Tracking Cookies Found!

brummie:
...Just decided to do a manual quick scan having had a long session gaming and imagine my surprise when my Norton Security found two tracking cookies...

Hi brummie:

Are you relying on the Quick Scans that run automatically during system idles to find tracking cookies?  I don't know if this is still the case, but as far as I know Norton re-configured automatic Quick Scans to stop looking for tracking cookies several years ago because users complained about the frequent pop-up warnings every time an automatic Quick Scan ran in the background and found a low risk tracking cookie. According to delphinium's 2011 post <here> only manual Quick Scans (along with manual and scheduled Full System / Custom scans) will scan for tracking cookies.

If you have your browser set to clean cookies on exit or have some browser add-on like Adblock Plus installed that blocks tracking cookies, it's also possible that your manual Quick Scans haven't been finding any tracking cookies stored on your hard drive because they're normally removed when you close your browser or they are normally blocked by your browser's tracking protection.  Did you run your last manual Quick Scan while your browser was still open (e.g., before your cookies were automatically cleaned on exit) ?  If you use any sort of tracking protection it's also possible a few tracking cookies were recently missing by the tracking protection filters for your browser / browser add-ons and were then caught by your last manual Quick Scan.
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32-bit Vista Home Premium SP2 * Firefox ESR v52.9.0 * Norton Security Premium v22.15.1.8

Kudos1 Stats

Re: Tracking Cookies Found!

Hi Imacri,

It was a manual quick scan I did. Norton never did find any tracking cookies when doing auto scans but I was just surprised as it's the first time in a year that a 'manual scan' actually found some! I don't have browser set to clean cookies and I did it while I went out to make a coffee. I normally use Chrome as my browser.

Regards

Kudos2 Stats

Re: Tracking Cookies Found!

Hi brummie:

From the Symantec security write-up for Tracking Cookies at https://www.symantec.com/security-center/writeup/2006-080217-3524-99:

"A cookie is a text file that a Web site can install on your computer....Tracking Cookies are a specific type of cookie that is distributed, shared, and read across two or more unrelated Web sites for the purpose of gathering information or potentially to present customized data to you. Not all cookies are tracking cookies. Tracking cookies are not harmful like malware, worms or viruses, but they can be a privacy concern...

....Contrary to what some users may think, cookies are NOT inherently malicious or dangerous. If you run a scan and you find a tracking cookie, the tracking cookie does not represent a malware infection. These are low to minimal security issues. We have seen many security companies and free "Spyware Removal Tools" emphasize detection of cookies, calling them Spyware and Trackware and stating that you are "infected", which is most unlikely to be the case. Cookies and the information they store are more related to privacy concerns."

You noted in your thread Tracking Cookies Suddenly Not Being Found? that "I used 'SuperAntySpyware' and that detected a shed load of cookies".  I've stopped recommending SUPERAntiSpyware Free as a second-opinion scanner because it indiscriminately detects and logs any tracking cookie (both harmless and potentially harmful) as Adware.Tracking Cookies - see the Wilders Security Forum thread SUPERAntiSpyware Useful? for comments from SAS users on this topic.  I don't know the exact algorithm Norton uses for defining a "tracking cookie" but I imagine the threshold is much higher for an antivirus program like Norton that would be more concerned with potentially harmful tracking cookies like "zombie" Flash cookies or permanent cookies created by sites that do not use encrypted (https://) server connections.  Your Norton security history (either in Resolved Security Risks or the Scan Results for your manual Quick Scan) might have more details about the tracking cookies that were detected by your last manual Quick Scan.

As I noted in my previous post, the background Norton Quick Scans that run automatically during system idles do not scan for tracking cookies.  If you've seen a drop in the number of tracking cookies your manual Quick Scans have detected on your system in the last year (and you're certain you haven't made any changes to your browser privacy settings or added browser extensions that would improve blocking of tracking cookies), that drop might be due in part to new laws that are now being enforced in many jurisdictions governing the use of cookies by websites.  See the FAQ at http://www.allaboutcookies.org/ for some background information on this topic - many of these rules came into effect well before the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR) new EU Cookie Law, and these rules even apply to websites outside of the EU if they target people within the EU member states.

SendOfJive and others provided several suggestions in your thread Tracking Cookies Suddenly Not Being Found? on how to configure your system so tracking cookies are not stored on your system in the first place (e.g., configure your browser privacy settings to never accept third-party cookies, clear cookies and internet cache on exit, etc.), so I'm guessing you don't need more advice in that area.  Post back if I'm wrong about that.
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32-bit Vista Home Premium SP2 * Firefox ESR v52.9.0 * Norton Security Premium v22.15.1.8

Kudos0

Re: Tracking Cookies Found!

brummie:
... I don't have browser set to clean cookies and I did it while I went out to make a coffee. I normally use Chrome as my browser....

Hi brummie:

One other question I forgot to ask.  Are any of your Norton automated disk and browser cleanup tasks at Settings | Task Scheduling | Automatic Tasks enabled?  I believe the cleanup tasks for the IE and Chrome browser (if installed) are located on this tab; if Firefox is installed the location is Settings | Administrative Tasks | Firefox Cleanup.

These automated disk and browser cleanup tasks were added to Norton products a few years ago and are enabled by default, and it wouldn't surprise me to learn that Symantec tweaked the algorithm for detecting third-party tracking cookies at the same time so that manual Quick Scans and Full System Scans would only look for potentially malicious tracking cookies (i.e., on the assumption that users would leave these disk and browser cleanup tasks enabled if they wanted tracking cookies removed) and throw fewer false positives for harmless tracking cookies.  That's just a guess, so you might have to check with Norton Customer Support via Live Chat at https://www.norton.com/chat and ask them if their detection algorithm for tracking cookies has changed significantly in the past few years if one of the Norton employees doesn't jump into this thread.
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32-bit Vista Home Premium SP2 * Firefox ESR v52.9.0 * Norton Security Premium v22.15.1.8

Kudos0

Re: Tracking Cookies Found!

Hi Imacri,

In answer to your question yes I do have them enabled.

I'm quite happy to leave things as they are for now. I only posted for information only as I was surprised to find two cookies after such a long time.(One year). You certainly threw up a wealth of information which I am grateful for. (Certainly learned something new).

Regards and thanks.

Kudos0

Re: Tracking Cookies Found!

brummie:

..In answer to your question yes I do have them enabled.

I'm quite happy to leave things as they are for now. I only posted for information only as I was surprised to find two cookies after such a long time.(One year)....

Hi brummie:

More food for thought .  I read your previous posts on this topic and you never seemed to have your question answered about why Norton rarely detects tracking cookies on your system these days so I thought I'd throw out a few ideas.

My best guess is that you picked up two tracking cookies while you were gaming / browsing , and they were detected by the manual Quick Scan while you went to grab a coffee because your browser was still open (i.e., your cookies hadn't been cleaned yet on exit) and/or your scheduled Norton cleanup tasks at Settings | Task Scheduling | Automatic Tasks didn't have time to clean up your browsing history before you ran your manual Quick Scan.  It's also possible that Norton recently tweaked the definitions for tracking cookie cleaning and that these were false positive detections because of an over-aggressive algorithm that flagged a few harmless tracking cookies as being potentially harmful (assuming Norton even knows how to differentiate between a harmless and potentially harmful tracking cookie - someone from Norton would have to tell you that).

It's always possible that one of the web sites you visit regularly was recently infected with potentially harmful tracking cookies. Or maybe Norton's just really, really bad at detecting tracking cookies these days. Is that can of worms I just heard opening?
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32-bit Vista Home Premium SP2 * Firefox ESR v52.9.0 * Norton Security Premium v22.15.1.8

Kudos0

Re: Tracking Cookies Found!

Hi,

That is possible also, looking at the history of that particular find it shows the common 'doubleclick.net' and the 'Orphan Cleanup' cookies. I remember I was having a look at Microsoft Edge as my pc had done a big update a few days earlier and heard about the new extension for Norton's 'Password Manager' or whatever it is called now.

You reminded me of my old thread regarding this subject and yes I was getting loads of helpful suggestions on how to detect them and what other programmes to use which wasn't what I was asking for at the time lol.

Regards