Web browsing activity is tracked by use of “cookies,” “beacons” and “Flash cookies,” small computer files or software programs installed on a user’s computer by the Web pages that are visited. Some are useful. But a subset (“third party” cookies and beacons) are used by companies to track users from site to site and build a database of their online activities.

A Simple Step to Help Protect Yourself

Major browsers including Microsoft Corp.’s Internet Explorer, Mozilla Foundation’s Firefox, Google Inc.’s Chrome and Apple Inc.’s Safari, have privacy features. To have the most privacy options, upgrade to the Visitors to almost every major website are tracked online, a Journal investigation has found. But there are ways to limit the snooping.latest version of the browser you use.

Check and delete cookies: All popular browsers let users view and delete cookies installed on their computer. Methods vary by browser.

For instance on Internet Explorer 8 (the most widely used browser), go to the “Tools” menu, pull down to “Internet Options” and under the “General” tab there are options for deleting some or all cookies. There might be hundreds, so deleting all might be easiest. But the next time you visit a favorite site, you may need to retype passwords or other login data previously stored automatically by one of those cookies.

Follow this link for instructions on how to protect your privacy online no matter what browser you use.

Click here to read this article in full.