Blocking 3rd party cookies in Internet Explorer 7

Cookies

When you visit a site, you may download a number of cookies. There are two types of cookies you may get from a site – 1st party and 3rd party cookies. 1st party cookies are issued directly by the site you are visiting whereas 3rd party cookies typically come from advertisers or banner ads on that site. 1st party cookies may be session based. If a cookie is session based, the cookie will be removed from your system after you close Internet Explorer. Depending on your level of concern, you may choose to block all 3rd party cookies.

Configure IE to Prompt on Cookie Download

It may be useful to have Internet Explorer notify you whenever a cookie is about to be installed so you can see the difference between 1st party and 3rd party cookies. Note that you will likely receive quite a few notices even just for a single site, but again, it’s interesting to see just how much is going on behind the scenes. After you get a feel for how cookies work and the number of cookies you get on a specific site, I recommend you disable the prompt option.

  1. Open Internet Explorer
  2. Under the Tools Menu, select Internet Options
  3. Select the Privacy tab
  4. Click on the Advanced button
  5. Select the checkbox to “Override automatic cookie handling”
  6. For now select the radio button for Prompt under both 1st and 3rd party cookies
  7. Click OK, then OK on the Internet Options window
  8. Browse to a site such as Yahoo
  9. You will receive a privacy notice regarding cookies. You can click on the “More Info” button to get a detailed report such as in the figure below

Third Party Cookie

In the detailed Privacy Alert window, you’ll want to take a look at the “Domain” and “3rd Party” fields. Note that the domain for a 3rd party cookie will not be the same domain that you browsed to. You can also see in this window whether the cookie is a Session cookie or not.

Disable 3rd party Cookies

If you decide to disable all 3rd party cookies, follow the below steps:

  1. Open Internet Explorer
  2. Under the Tools Menu, select Internet Options
  3. Select the Privacy tab
  4. Click on the Advanced button
  5. Select the checkbox to “Override automatic cookie handling”
  6. For now select the radio button for “Accept” under 1st party cookies and “Block” under 3rd party cookies
  7. Click OK, then OK on the Internet Options window

Internet Explorer will now accept all 1st party cookies and will automatically block all 3rd party cookies. With the number of various options available in Internet Explorer, allowing 1st party and blocking 3rd party cookies would be my recommended configuration. Note that blocking cookies does nothing to disable or block advertisements on web site.

More Web Security Tips!

For more web security tips, see our articles Top Two Free Hosts File Managers, How to Control Cookies in Internet Explorer, How to Block Third Party Cookies in Internet Explorer 7, Using ZonedOut to Manage Internet Explorer Security Zones and Securing Your Web Browser’s Homepage.