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Adware Cookies

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I was accused of surfing the internet at work during work hours, but the truth is I havn't. My boss claimed to have facts and proof that I did - a cookies log. It showed that there were 4 cookies created or modified during work hours (ad.yieldmanager, trafficmp, vzwmail.vzwshop, ibm). I objected by saying that I have not been using the internet during work hours, and if adware were already on the computer, they will work in the background and possibly create these cookies. My boss called up the head of the tech department and he replied, "that's not possible, these will only be created if the user launched Internet Explorer or surfed online." My boss did not believe anything I said after that, but I do have one final chance at rebuttal by gathering up info and send an email to my boss.

So my question is: Is it possible for adware cookies to be created or modified without an Internet Explorer being launched, if adware, spyware, or adware cookies already exist on the computer?
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