Javascript and Cookies.


What, you may ask, is Javascript?

Javascript is a language used by many modern browsers. It enables more fancy effects to be produced within your browser window than could be done without it like, for example, popup windows.

What they don't tell you is that unscrupulous people can also use it to take control of your computer without your knowledge. It is possible to download files on your machine without your knowledge and that includes passwords and the like. It is also possible to corrupt your operating system. Most browsers enable Javascript by default but it can be disabled, from within the 'preferences' section, if you so choose.

These security problems are corrected when they are discovered but that, of course, means updating appropriate software and more security problems are being discovered and exploited all the time.

I have Javascript disabled most of the time. I will enable it occasionally, and briefly, for specific sites but if I come across a site that won't work at all without Javascript then I give it a miss. Some sites will provide alternative pages for those browsers that don't support Javascript or for those where it is disabled. That, of course, poses an interesting question. If they provide alternative content for non-Javascript browsers why do they need it in the first place?

Many sites use Javascript without mentioning that they won't work properly unless you have Javascript enabled and they don't provide alternative content. They do this because they don't want people like you to realise that the use of Javascript poses a security risk to your computer.

The choice is yours of course. I have made my choice and Javascript is definitely off the menu!



What, you may ask, are Cookies?

Cookies are small bits of information which are written on your hard drive by many of the web sites that you may visit. Some are fairly inocuous such as your preferred options for a particular site but some keep track of your visits and all the cookies on your computer will eventually provide a profile of your browsing habits - where you've been, how often, for how long, what you may have purchased, your e-mail address and so on.

Again the use of Cookies defaults to 'on' in most browsers but they too may be disabled and you can choose to reject all cookies.

Needless to say I choose not to accept any Cookies and you could do the same. The choice is yours.