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RealTime IT News

Netscape Clarifies Cookie Bug

Netscape Communications Corp. says a browser bug reported by the operator of a consumer information Web site isn't a bug after all.

Russ Smith, owner of Consumer.net said earlier this week his server logs were exposing cookie information from his site's visitors, including passwords and logins from other Web sites.

Web sites routinely use cookies to store user names and passwords so users don't have to manually log in to Web sites they frequently visit.

Netscape said the problem was caused by corrupted cookie files and not any problem with the browser or Web server software. Netscape said the cookie files Smith supplied are missing a carriage return command at the end of some entries, causing the Web server to keep reading the file after the point where it would normally stop.

Netscape said the problem was rare and stressed users could take precautions against cookie corruption, including shutting down the operating system before turning off their computers. Users also have the option of turning off cookies in their browser preferences.