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privacy question

By newbie5678 · 16 replies
Oct 20, 2003
  1. How do I prevent intrusive cookies from reading my temp folder, history, and favorites/bookmarks, etc?

    I could set my browser's privacy option to HIGH but then I won't be able to login.
  2. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    Cookies cannot access your computer and retrieve data. Cookies are simply text files that websites use to store information (purchases, login details, websites/pages visited, etc.) about you during your visit. Cookies can be used to track your browsing habits, and to store any details of online activity, but they cannot provide access to your hard drive folders. Websites read/write to cookies, but cookies themselves do not read anything.
  3. newbie5678

    newbie5678 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    That's what I mean. How do I prevent cookies from tracking my browsing habits after I leave a website?
  4. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

  5. newbie5678

    newbie5678 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    Thanks for the link. It says that deleted files remain on my computer. But I thought once it is emptied from the recycle bin it is gone for good?
  6. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    I would imagine what it is talking about is this:

    When you delete a file, its space on the hard drive gets marked as available for writing. Its not actually gone until something writes over it.

    When happens when people who surf for kiddie porn have the cops knocking at their door is that they delete stuff, only to find that its actually not gone from their hard drive at all. Computer Forensic scientists are able to recover it, using programs similar to "Lost and Found" by Powerquest. They probably have more specialised software for this, but you get the picture.

    What this software MAY do is delete the files and then write new data and then delete that, thusly (in theory) removing the data completely. The only truly effective software that I heard of that did this was called "Evidence Eliminator".

    That's what it probably means.
  7. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Rookie Posts: 2,244

    The "deleted" file question has come up many times. The simple answer is; when you delete a file, it doesn't do anything to that data, it simply marks that space as free and it can now be written to. Normally this is not a problem unless you have deleted something that you ABSOLUTELY do not want someone to gain access to. Unless you have sensitive company secrets, or if you are a superspy, or maybe a crime boss, then you probably don't need to worry too much about it. Also, if you are the only one who uses your computer, there is no need to worry over it, unless there is a chance the feds might break down the door to discover your illegal online activities.

    Most of what is in that link is somewhat inflated to scare you into using the product. I noticed a quote there: "Even Ron Jeremy got Shocked when he found out his computer saved every picture he viewed to his hard drive." Personally, I find it hard to believe anything could shock the Hedgehog.

    I'm sure that utility does what it says, gets rid of cookie, wipes out files, yadda, yadda... If you are concerned about your privacy, use it, or one of the hundreds of apps just like it, and go on with life.
  8. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Rookie Posts: 2,244

    BTW, just to cause a little more paranoia, I have read that forensic file recovery methods are such now, that they can recover partial data from drives that have used multiple pass DOD wiping strategies(which are what Norton's Wipe Info, Evidence eliminator and others use)

    The only real way to eliminate data for good, is either a bench grinder, or a Big Friggin Hammer.
    On the other hand, if its data you might need back, it will probably be lost forever as soon as it leaves the desktop :p
  9. newbie5678

    newbie5678 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    Would reformatting the hardrive and reinstalling windows do the trick?
  10. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Rookie Posts: 2,244

    Again, this depends on the person who wants to get the data, if we are talking about something that might involve federal agents, and long prison terms, NO, it won't, if we are talking about letters from your GF that you don't want your wife to find, then its kind of like "using a cannon to swatt a fly" as Nodsu would put it.

    To put it simply, formatting, even low level, will not stop someone who has the tools and knowledge to retreive the data, but it is very much overkill if you just have something on there that is that frightening to you.
  11. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    the best thing to do if you want to completely erase your hard drive is write it all with zeros.

    Boot from a Linux Install CD - probably any one, and you only need disk 1, and then issue this command:

    linux rescue

    at the first prompt you see.

    issue this command:

    more /proc/partitions

    and then you will see a list of partitions, hda is the first hard drive, hda5 the fifth partition, etc.

    To completely destroy the whole disk, type this command:

    dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda

    to write zeros to primary master hard drive, or

    dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda2

    to delete 2nd parititon on that drive, and to leave rest OK (....as I recall.... ;) )

    It will take a VERY long time.

    Eventually, it will bomb out with an error message. It will say something like:

    the specified target contains insufficient space.

    or something like that, which is the operating systems best guess at what's really happened, which is that:

    the specified hard drive cannot contain an infinite number of zeros.
  12. newbie5678

    newbie5678 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    Can I still use the hardrive after writing infinite number of zeros?

    Several years ago a virus wiped out my hardrive. I had a computer expert try to recover lost data but he couldn't do it. He said the hardrive was dead and unsalvageable. What kind of virus could do that to a hardrive?
  13. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    You most certainly can. Just repartition it, reformat it, and it will be as good as new.

    please don't tell us you are destroying evidence of child porn, or I will have to fire a firebolt over the internet at you and destroy you....


    "As you see, my Jedi powers are far beyond yours...!"
  14. newbie5678

    newbie5678 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    No, I want to erase information to where osama bin laden and sadam hussein are hiding :D

    but seriously, i just want to learn more about computers.
  15. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    that's the best reason. I suggest trying the above only on a hard drive that you wouldn't mind if you lost everything from. its a very destructive command I listed there.
  16. Negative_Pulse

    Negative_Pulse TS Rookie Posts: 16

    Haha, thats so true.

    Sound like he was'nt much of a computer expert. I have never heard of a virus destroying hardware.
  17. newbie5678

    newbie5678 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    I don't know if he specialized in repairs or not, but he has a electrical engineering degree and is ccie certified. He said the hardisk would not power up... something with the bios :confused:
    We ended up sending the disk back to western digital for a replacement.
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