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Internet & Security
Dealing with web bugs

Q

I was wondering why Norton Internet Security does not block web bugs. In fact, as far as I know none of the major security suites do this. There is a free tool called Bugnosis that seems to detect them without difficulty, but it canít do anything about removing them. What can I do about them?

A

Web bugs are tiny, invisible image files that are used by both email and Web sites in conjunction with cookies to track information about the person - in other words you - who has either opened that page or the email. The bug is vital because downloading this file to your computer alerts the third party that the page has been read, so if the corresponding cookie is on your system the information it contains can be also be transferred.
 
   Web bugs arenít specifically blocked by Norton Internet Security because they work in conjunction with cookies, so if you fine-tune your cookie-handling settings - either in your browser or with Norton Internet Security - you can stop them in your tracks. The link to the tutorial below below reveals how to manage your cookies more effectively.
 
   When it comes to blocking web bugs from your email, simply make sure your email client doesn't download images automatically - most modern email programs block images by default, leaving it to you to decide if you wish to download images for individual messages or not. You're similarly protected if you choose to view all images in plain text.

This Q&A was originally published in issue 150 of PC Answers

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