Well, the safest route would be to not allow cookies and all. This is not practical because at many sites you will lose much of their functionality if you do not allow them to set cookies. Additionally, if you like to "save your logon" at a site, this is also done by setting a cookie.
That being said, these are the settings that I use which, I would say represent a "medium" setting.
Checkmark in "Allow Sites to Set Cookies".
Checkmark in "for the originating site only".
Keep cookies (since I wake to save my logon at sites such as this) I have "until they expire" set in the drop-down box.
If you do not save your log in for sites such as this one select "until I close Firefox" in the drop-down box.
For Internet Explorer:
I have mine set to "Medium" with a list of sites that I always block cookies from under the "Sites" button. Obviously, for maximum protection, you would select the highest level.
I also have a program called Window Washer that I use at shutdown every night. It has a cookie manager plug-in which allows me to keep selected cookies and remove the rest so that I start out with a clean slate the next morning.
Here are some tips, to reduce the potential for spyware infection in the future, I strongly recommend installing the following applications:
- Spywareblaster => SpywareBlaster will prevent spyware from being installed.
- Spywareguard => SpywareGuard offers realtime protection from spyware installation attempts.
- How to use Ad-Aware to remove Spyware => If you suspect that you have spyware installed on your computer, here are instructions on how to download, install and then use Ad-Aware.
- How to use Spybot to remove Spyware => If you suspect that you have spyware installed on your computer, here are instructions on how to download, install and then use Spybot. Similar to Ad-Aware, I strongly recommend both to catch most spyware
To protect yourself further:
- IE/Spyad => IE/Spyad places over 4000 websites and domains in the IE Restricted list which will severely impair attempts to infect your system. It basically prevents any downloads (Cookies etc) from the sites listed, although you will still be able to connect to the sites.
- MVPS Hosts file => The MVPS Hosts file replaces your current HOSTS file with one containing well know ad sites etc. Basically, this prevents your computer from connecting to those sites by redirecting them to 127.0.0.1 which is your local computer.
- Google Toolbar => Get the free google toolbar to help stop pop up windows.
- Use a Firewall => I can not stress enough how important it is that you use a Firewall on your computer. For an excellent article on Firewalls, why you should use one and a some of those available, see Computer Safety On line - Software Firewalls. I recommend ZoneAlarm or Sunbelts Kerio. ZoneAlarm is more user-friendly, but Sunbelts Kerio is considered more secure.
- UPDATE!-UPDATE!-UPDATE! => This is, without a doubt, THE MOST IMPORTANT element in keeping your computer free of malware. Keep each and every one of your anti-malware tools AND Windows up-to-date with all current definitions and patches.
I also suggest that you delete your temporary files by deleting all files and folders that are in those folders (do not
delete the temp
folder itself), for example:
- C:\WINDOWS\Temp\--->Everything After the \.
- C:\Temp\--->Everything After the \.
- C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Temp\--->Everything After the \.
- Repeat for all users.
Also delete your Temporary Internet Files:
- Click Start=>Control Panel=>Internet options.
- Under the Generaltab.
- Click Delete Files button.
- Place a check-mark in Delete all off-line content.
- Click OK=OK
- Exit Control Panel
- Repeat for all users.
Empty the recycle bin:
- Right-click the Recycle Bin icon on your desktop.
- Select "Empty Recycle Bin".
- Repeat forall users.
You can also do the above steps using a program such as Cleanup!
from Steven Gould
.These steps should be done on a regular basis.
Also, please see: So how did I get infected in the first place?
Please note that unless you completely restrict them, you'll probably have tracking cookies show up in most of the popular scanners. They are more of a nuisance than anything else, just delete them (or "fix" depending on the scanner that you're using)