Hello and welcome to my User Tip
Cookies are left by websites and trackers on those websites to follow your activity on the Internet.
It's absolutely horrifying of the level of privacy invasion that's occurring, it's worst on iOS devices because they offer no way to install software to stop it.
A "Do not Track" request can be made, but tracking companies etc., are ignoring it.
Epic Privacy Browser - a new browser on the scene especially designed to protect your privacy however not from the NSA, FBI or other governments who have the Internet pretty much owned from all angles. But at least you can stop the advertisers and everyone else. Also includes a built in proxy (but not Tor so it's not randomized, you can be traced back through legal means)
You'll need to harden it further, I advise clearing data and setting the plug-ins for "click to play" in Epic's preferences as running all plug-ins on all sites is not a good idea if there is a unknown flaw in one of them your not using.
Epic isn't has strong as Firefox can be with all it's add-ons and abilities, but less of a headache.
If you don't want to be tracked, you can take matters into your own hands.
Install the free Firefox web browser, turn on the do not track just for the heck of it, someone might listen.
Install the free Ad Block Plus add-on for Firefox and set up with Easy list autoupdating, check the preference to disallow all.
"Malvertising" and tracking is done via advertising, even thise little tiny one pixel sized ads.
Also much of it is very annoying with sounds, video or effects, copy-cat buttons etc.
Note: If you like a site and frequent it, then whitelist it through so they get some advertising revenue.
Install the free Ghostery add-on and enable everything to block cookies, trackers and web bugs and also enable delete Flash and Silverlight cookies upon quit.
Install the free Click&Clean, it will clean Firefox upon exit, check the preferences. It also has a button to clean before you trust a site.
Install the free HTTPSEverywhere add-on from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, this requests a encrypted connection if the site provides it so middle men can't snoop in.
Install the free TrackMeNot add-on, this sends (clean) random search data to search engines as they record all that too along with your IP address, browser type, screen size and operating system version.
Install the free Web of Trust,, this is a community warning system of bad or malicious sites.
Read about NoScript, it also can make browsing a LOT faster. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NoScript
Disable Java in your browsers perferences it's nearly always insecure, Disable Flash and only use it on sites you trust.
Disable any other browser plug-ins that are not used that much, the object is to have minimal things running as you surf the net.
Test your exposure here: https://panopticlick.eff.org/
Test your IP/tracking here: http://www.whatsmyip.org/more-info-about-you/
Test your password strenght: http://howsecureismypassword.net/
If your into racy content like 10% of Internet traffic is, then learn to use a virtual machine program and a guest operating system in that. This way once your finished you can "rollback" to a previous uninfected snapshot (deletes all hidden junk and tricks/malware). Apply security updates to only pristine snapshots and then save a new snapshot and use that. One can keep multiple snapshots and run multiple versions of different guest operating systems all at the same time if they have enough RAM and drive space.
Cleaning a present system: Macupdate.com for CCleaner for OS X and OnyX cache cleaning followed by a Disk Utlity > Erase Free Space 0-7x option for hard drives (only).
SSD's cannot be seurely erased. Secure erase data on a Solid State Drive?
Disclaimer: Don't think for a second any of the above or below is going to cover you 100% if anyone has a real desire to locate you.
All this can do is reduce the potential of malware, advertising, marketing trackers etc., from knowing what and where you have been going and doing online.
If you want to take things a step further you can install hosts file additon that will block your computer from accessing known tracking etc., sites.
Compatible with OS x 10.6, 10.7 and 10.8 as the time of this user tip creation. March 2013.
Warning! May be complicated for some and possibly hazardous if instructions not followed correctly!
1: Download and install the free TextWrangler from BareBones Software
(10.8 users may need to System Preferences > Security > General > Download to "Anywhere" to accept software from the web. The AppStore version if it exists may not be there, or a dumbed down version or outdated/insecure as Apple takes 4-8 weeks to approve software via AppStore)
2: Open this page in a browser window and select all and copy to the clipboard.
(it's from this site here, http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm but the instructions are for Windows)
3: Open TextEdit and new file, paste from the clipboard.
4: Delete the lines in the online file (only) as they are duplicates in where the final result is going to go.
::1 localhost #[IPv6]
5: Use The Find and Replace, replace all instances of 127.0.0.1 with 0.0.0.0 and click apply to all.
6: Select all and copy the result to the clipboard.
7: Open TextWrangler and open File by Name:
8: DO NOT TOUCH what you see there, arrow down the bottom, add a few returns and paste from the clipboard.
9: Save using your Admin name and password.
10: Repeat the same every few months to update the list replacing the old portion with the new portion.
Be careful not to delete the original portion of the /etc/hosts file.
11: If you wish to block custom sites, then
12: If you wish to have the computer ignore a line then add the "#" sign in front of the line
It might be some sites may require connections to these tracking servers when you go to purchase something, I only have see it occur once with TicketMaster and never again.
A hosts file addition is required for each operating system, so the one in a virtual machine is going to need it's own, it can't use the OS X one.
Your never truely "private" online as your Internet Service Provider or alternate DNS service is recording all your traffic so government types can go back and see what you have been up too if you raise a flag. However what's good about this tip is not much of anyone else can know about your Internet activity, however we always behind the curve and they think up new tracking methods all the time.