It has come to my attention that the free counter service I was using – SiteMeter – has begun installing rogue cookies on every visitor’s computer.
Needless to say, the program has been eliminated here.
Tracking cookies are one thing – they simply track whether you are a new visitor to the site or a returning visitor. They are harmless.
But some cookies are rogue in that they track your every move on the Internet.
Unfortunately, SiteMeter has allowed at least one rogue cookie, as I call it, to be installed from Specific Media lately (specificclick.com) who are well known in the Internet community to secretly gather intelligence about you.
These type of cookies are more commonly called SpyWare.
Have you wondered why all of a sudden everywhere you go you see advertising that seems to know where you live, that you are shopping for a TV, or that you have started getting a lot of "buy music" ads after you bought some CD’s online?
That’s due to the information companies like Specific Media have gathered on you. They aren’t the only culprit out there doing this, by the way – it’s big money today.
The cookie isn’t a virus, it can’t hurt your computer, and there is no threat to your computer’s health. However, the cookie does allow third-party companies to track your every move. I suggest you take steps to eliminate it.
If you have been using a spyware type of program or virus scanner that includes a spyware capability, you probably didn’t receive the cookie. But why take a chance? In just a couple of minutes you can be sure.
I’m going to advise you to go use McAfee’s free VirusScan service if you aren’t already using a virus scanner [link], and then download and install a spyware program like McAfee’s SiteAdvisor [link], Ad-Ware [link], or Microsoft’s Defender [link].
If you have any questions or need any help, feel free to email me.
Update 1:00 PM
A lot of folks are emailing wondering what other websites are using SiteMeter they might visit. As of right now, here is a short list:
Where Have You Gone Andy Van Slyke?
Baseball Think Factory
Those sites that seem to be running a counter other than SiteMeter include:
Bucs Trade Winds