What Are Cookies For

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What is a Cookie? How it works and ways to stay safe

HTTP cookies are essential to the modern Internet but a vulnerability to your privacy. As a necessary part of web browsing, HTTP cookies help web developers give you more personal, convenient website visits. Cookies let websites remember you, your website logins, shopping carts and more. But they can also be a treasure trove of private info for criminals to spy arding your privacy online can be overwhelming. Fortunately, even a basic understanding of cookies can help you keep unwanted eyes off your internet most cookies are perfectly safe, some can be used to track you without your consent. Worse, legitimate cookies can sometimes be spied upon if a criminal gets this article, we will guide you through how cookies work and how you can stay safe online. We’ll answer key questions like:What are cookies? What are cookies on a computer? What are cookies on a website? Can cookies contain viruses? How can I remove cookies? What Are Cookies? Cookies are text files with small pieces of data — like a username and password — that are used to identify your computer as you use a computer network. Specific cookies known as HTTP cookies are used to identify specific users and improve your web browsing stored in a cookie is created by the server upon your connection. This data is labeled with an ID unique to you and your the cookie is exchanged between your computer and the network server, the server reads the ID and knows what information to specifically serve to you. Different types of cookies – Magic Cookies and HTTP CookiesMagic CookiesHTTP CookiesCookies generally function the same but have been applied to different use cases:”Magic cookies” are an old computing term that refers to packets of information that are sent and received without changes. Commonly, this would be used for a login to computer database systems, such as a business internal network. This concept predates the modern “cookie” we use cookies are a repurposed version of the “magic cookie” built for internet browsing. Web browser programmer Lou Montulli used the “magic cookie” as inspiration in 1994. He recreated this concept for browsers when he helped an online shopping store fix their overloaded HTTP cookie is what we currently use to manage our online experiences. It is also what some malicious people can use to spy on your online activity and steal your personal explain, you’ll want to understand exactly what are internet cookies and why do they matter? What are HTTP Cookies? HTTP cookies, or internet cookies, are built specifically for Internet web browsers to track, personalize, and save information about each user’s session. A “session” just refers to the time you spend on a okies are created to identify you when you visit a new website. The web server — which stores the website’s data — sends a short stream of identifying info to your web owser cookies are identified and read by “name-value” pairs. These tell cookies where to be sent and what data to server only sends the cookie when it wants the web browser to save it. If you’re wondering “where are cookies stored, ” it’s simple: your web browser will store it locally to remember the “name-value pair” that identifies a user returns to that site in the future, the web browser returns that data to the web server in the form of a cookie. This is when your browser will send it back to the server to recall data from your previous put it simply, cookies are a bit like getting a ticket for a coat check:You hand over your “coat” to the cloak desk. In this case, a pocket of data is linked to you on the website server when you connect. This data can be your personal account, your shopping cart, or even just what pages you’ve get a “ticket” to identify you as the “coat” owner. The cookie for the website is given to you and stored in your web browser. It has a unique ID especially for you leave and return, you can get the “coat” with your “ticket”. Your browser gives the website your cookie. It reads the unique ID in the cookie to assemble your activity data and recall your visit just as you left Are Cookies Used For? Websites use HTTP cookies to streamline your web experiences. Without cookies, you’d have to login again after you leave a site or rebuild your shopping cart if you accidentally close the page. Making cookies an important a part of the internet on this, you’ll want to understand why they’re worth keeping — and when they’re ’s how cookie are intended to be used:Session management. For example, cookies let websites recognize users and recall their individual login information and preferences, such as sports news versus rsonalization. Customized advertising is the main way cookies are used to personalize your sessions. You may view certain items or parts of a site, and cookies use this data to help build targeted ads that you might acking. Shopping sites use cookies to track items users previously viewed, allowing the sites to suggest other goods they might like and keep items in shopping carts while they continue this is mostly for your benefit, web developers get a lot out of this set-up as okies are stored on your device locally to free up storage space on a website’s servers. In turn, websites can personalize while saving money on server maintenance and storage are the different types of HTTP Cookies? With a few variations, cookies in the cyber world come in two types: session and ssion cookies are used only while navigating a website. They are stored in random access memory and are never written to the hard the session ends, session cookies are automatically deleted. They also help the “back” button or third-party anonymizer plugins work. These plugins are designed for specific browsers to work and help maintain user rsistent cookies remain on a computer indefinitely, although many include an expiration date and are automatically removed when that date is rsistent cookies are used for two primary purposes:Authentication. These cookies track whether a user is logged in and under what name. They also streamline login information, so users don’t have to remember site acking. These cookies track multiple visits to the same site over time. Some online merchants, for example, use cookies to track visits from particular users, including the pages and products viewed. The information they gain allows them to suggest other items that might interest visitors. Gradually, a profile is built based on a user’s browsing history on that Cookies Can Be DangerousSince the data in cookies doesn’t change, cookies themselves aren’t can’t infect computers with viruses or other malware. However, some cyberattacks can hijack cookies and enable access to your browsing danger lies in their ability to track individuals’ browsing histories. To explain, let’s discuss what cookies to watch out vs. Third-Party CookiesSome cookies may pack more of a threat than others depending on where they come cookies are directly created by the website you are using. These are generally safer, as long as you are browsing reputable websites or ones that have not been cookies are more troubling. They are generated by websites that are different from the web pages users are currently surfing, usually because they’re linked to ads on that siting a site with 10 ads may generate 10 cookies, even if users never click on those cookies let advertisers or analytics companies track an individual’s browsing history across the web on any sites that contain their nsequently, the advertiser could determine that a user first searched for running apparel at a specific outdoor store before checking a particular sporting goods site and then a certain online sportswear cookies are from a third-party and permanently installed on users’ computers, even when they opt not to install cookies. They also reappear after they’ve been deleted. When zombie cookies first appeared, they were created from data stored in the Adobe Flash storage bin. They are sometimes called “flash cookies” and are extremely difficult to other third-party cookies, zombie cookies can be used by web analytics companies to track unique individuals’ browsing histories. Websites may also use zombies to ban specific lowing or Removing CookiesCookies can be an optional part of your internet experience. If you so choose, you can limit what cookies end up on your computer or mobile you allow cookies, it will streamline your surfing. For some users, no cookies security risk is more important than a convenient internet ’s how to allow cookies:Find the cookie section — typically under Settings > the boxes to allow cookies. Sometimes the option says, “Allow local data. ”If you don’t want cookies, you can simply uncheck these moving cookies can help you mitigate your risks of privacy breaches. It can also reset your browser tracking and personalization. To help, Kaspersky offers step-by-step instructions for removing cookies from the most popular web moving normal cookies is easy, but it could make certain web sites harder to navigate. Without cookies internet, users may have to re-enter their data for each visit. Different browsers store cookies in different places, but usually, you can:Find the Settings, Privacy section — sometimes listed under Tools, Internet Options, or the prompts on the available options to manage or remove remove tracking cookie infestations and more malicious types, you’ll want to enlist the help of some internet security removing cookies, evaluate the ease of use expected from a website that uses cookies. In most cases, cookies improve the web experience, but they should be handled the future, you can anonymize your web use by using a virtual private network (VPN). These services tunnel your web connection to a remote server that poses as you. Cookies will be labeled for that remote server in another country, instead of your local gardless of how you handle cookies, it’s best to remain on guard and clean up your cookies lated articles:What is Adware? What is a Trojan? Computer Viruses and Malware Facts and FAQSpam and Phishing
ARCHIVED: What are cookies? - IU KB - Indiana University

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ARCHIVED: What are cookies? – IU KB – Indiana University

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This content has been archived, and is no longer maintained by Indiana University. Information here may no longer be accurate, and links may no longer be available or reliable.
Cookies are messages that web servers pass to your web browser when you visit Internet sites. Your browser stores each message in a small file, called When you request another page from the server, your browser sends the cookie back to the server. These files typically contain information about your visit to the web page, as well as any information you’ve volunteered, such as your name and interests.
The term “cookie” is an allusion to a Unix program called Fortune Cookie that produces a different message, or fortune, each time it runs.
Examples of cookies
Cookies are most commonly used to track website activity. When you visit some sites, the server gives you a cookie that acts as your identification card. Upon each return visit to that site, your browser passes that cookie back to the server. In this way, a web server can gather information about which web pages are used the most, and which pages are gathering the most repeat hits.
Cookies are also used for online shopping. Online stores often use cookies that record any personal information you enter, as well as any items in your electronic shopping cart, so that you don’t need to re-enter this information each time you visit the site.
Servers can use cookies to provide personalized web pages. When you select preferences at a site that uses this option, the server places the information in a cookie. When you return, the server uses the information in the cookie to create a customized page for you.
Security concerns
Only the website that creates a cookie can read it, so other servers do not have access to your information. Additionally, web servers can use only information that you provide or choices that you make while visiting the website as content in cookies.
Webmasters have always been able to track access to their sites, but cookies make it easier to do so. In some cases, cookies come not from the site you’re visiting, but from advertising companies that manage the banner ads for a set of sites (such as). These advertising companies can develop detailed profiles of the people who select ads across their customers’ sites.
Accepting a cookie does not give a server access to your computer or any of your personal information (except for any information that you may have purposely given, as with online shopping). Also, it is not possible to execute code from a cookie, and not possible to use a cookie to deliver a virus.
Viewing and controlling cookies
For privacy reasons, you may wish to view the cookies currently stored in your browser or control which sites you accept cookies from. You may also decide how long they may be stored and used. Most modern browsers offer the ability to control cookie settings; consult your browser’s help files, and see:
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Last modified on 2018-01-18 12:07:14.
Are Cookies Bad + How to Clear Them - Panda Security Mediacenter

Are Cookies Bad + How to Clear Them – Panda Security Mediacenter

Have you ever browsed an eCommerce website, adding potential purchases to your cart, only to exit your browser and not submit an order during the session? Did you ever find yourself navigating back to the site, pleasantly surprised that your cart still held those items? For that, you can thank internet cookies. Browser cookies allow a site to provide a personalized user experience by storing small pieces of information.
If cookies didn’t exist, every time you visited a new page of a website, you’d enter preferences like your language, currency, and authentication that you are not, in fact, a robot. So how are cookies bad?
The standalone data of a cookie is not inherently bad, nor a type of malware. It’s the concern of what a website will do with that data that can be harmful to a user’s privacy. Virtual criminals could potentially use the information from cookies to data-mine browsing history. As a responsible web user, you should distinguish the types of cookies you want to allow and to what extent.
What Are Cookies?
Cookies are stored fragments of user data used to improve the browsing experience. Cookies, commonly referred to as HTTP, web, internet, or browser cookies, are created by your server and sent to your browser. The exchange of information allows a web page to identify your computer and serve tailored information about your current and future sessions as a personalized experience.
The primary distinction to make when storing cookies is whether they are first-party or third-party cookies. First-party cookies are those directly stored by the website you’re visiting. They calculate things like the number of sessions and page visits. In contrast, third-party cookies can be transmitted to another website other than the one you’re visiting. This is typically where privacy concerns come in.
Types of Cookies
Cookies, in theory, are a good thing. The personalization of browsing lends itself to a streamlined user experience. The most undesirable version, on the other hand, can replicate information from a cookie even after it’s been deleted.
Session cookies: Session cookies are perhaps the safest form of web cookies. While their function allows a website to remember a computer while browsing from page to page, when the session ends—so does the cookie and transfer of information.
Persistent cookies: Persistent cookies exist in more of a permanent way to maintain user preferences. They’re primarily used for authenticating a specific computer so you stay logged in while navigating between pages. These cookies will also track multiple visits to the same webpage. So when an eCommerce website remembers the items in your shopping cart after navigating away from the page, you have persistent cookies to thank.
Evercookies, Zombie Cookies, and Supercookies: All one and the same, these “cookies” are not actually cookies at all. Rather than stored data, they are routines that recreate themselves even after a browser cache has been cleared. When you delete one, they’ll often still exist in others—typically video browser software like Microsoft Silverlight and Adobe Flash, which allow access to the same data in several locations.
Should I Allow Cookies?
In most cases, cookies are useful. They create an online experience that remembers authentication, your cart, login information, and language or currency preferences. You’ll want to keep them on trustworthy sites so you can efficiently browse with a personalized experience.
On the other hand, allowing cookies on websites that appear to be a threat could be harmful to your device. While cookies on their own won’t harm your computer, it’s possible for hackers to infiltrate the information that cookies store to track your browsing history.
What Happens If You Don’t Accept Cookies?
While you may have to re-enter information, it’s not necessarily bad to disable cookies from websites—you just won’t have the optimized experience you’re used to when firing up your browser. If privacy is your number one concern, it may be advantageous to disallow cookies to avoid the unlikely potential of unauthorized data collection.
How Do You Clear Cookies on Your Computer?
Like spring cleaning, it’s a good idea to occasionally clear your cookies. Doing so reduces the risk of breaches. Keep in mind that some cookies, such as zombie cookies, require clearing your cache across video browser software, like Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight, to avoid replication.
How to Remove from Chrome
In Google Chrome, you have the option to delete all site data or singular cookies. Analyze what websites are tracking your browsing history, and delete anything obsolete.
Go to the Chrome menu.
Select preferences.
Choose clear browsing data.
Select cookies and other site data and click clear data.
How to Remove from Microsoft Edge
Microsoft Edge doesn’t have the option to delete single cookies, so when clearing your cache, make sure there’s not important information stored that you want to avoid deleting.
Go to the Microsoft Edge menu.
Click clear browsing data.
Select Cookies and other site data and click clear now.
How to Remove from Firefox
Firefox allows you to delete multiple cookies, single cookies, or all saved cookies.
Go to the Firefox menu.
Click privacy and security.
Go to cookies and site data and choose manage data.
Select the cookies you want to remove or remove all and click save changes.
How to Remove from Safari
In Safari, you can remove existing cookies and change your preferences to direct which cookies you’ll accept in the future.
Go to the Safari menu.
Click preferences.
Select privacy and manage website data.
Choose to delete all cookies or a select few.
The cookies created during web site visits are stored to personalize the user experience. But are cookies bad? While a cookie itself isn’t malware, there is the possibility of hackers infiltrating data from cookies, giving them access to your browsing history. Clear your cache, and give only trusted websites access to store cookies. As an added layer of protection, use antivirus software to scan for any known threats on your device.
Sources: Web Technology Surveys
Panda Security specializes in the development of endpoint security products and is part of the WatchGuard portfolio of IT security solutions. Initially focused on the development of antivirus software, the company has since expanded its line of business to advanced cyber-security services with technology for preventing cyber-crime.

Frequently Asked Questions about what are cookies for

What are cookies mostly used for?

Cookies are most commonly used to track website activity. When you visit some sites, the server gives you a cookie that acts as your identification card. Upon each return visit to that site, your browser passes that cookie back to the server.Jan 18, 2018

Are cookies bad?

So how are cookies bad? The standalone data of a cookie is not inherently bad, nor a type of malware. It’s the concern of what a website will do with that data that can be harmful to a user’s privacy. Virtual criminals could potentially use the information from cookies to data-mine browsing history.Aug 12, 2020

Should I delete cookies?

Although small, cookies do occupy space on your computer. If there are enough of them stored over a long period of time, they could slow down the speed of your computer and other devices. Flagged, suspicious cookies. If your antivirus software flags suspicious cookies, you should delete them.May 25, 2021

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