What are cookies?rouzbeh kalhor
While browsing websites, you will most likely get the message “Are you confirming cookie access?”. HTTP cookies are essential for the modern Internet, but they can sometimes compromise your privacy. As an essential part of the web, cookies help web developers to have a more personal and easier visit to the website. Cookies remember you of your website, shopping cart and more. But they can also be a treasure of private information to spy on for hackers.
Protecting your privacy while online is important and difficult. While most cookies are completely secure, they can still be used to track you.
In this article, we are going to explain cookies and how to stay safe against storing of information by cookies.
What are cookies?
Cookies are text files with small data such as usernames and passwords that are used to identify your computer when using the Internet. Special cookies known as HTTP cookies are used to identify users and improve your browsing experience.
When connected to a network, the data stored in a cookie is generated by the server. This data has an identifier that is specific to you and your computer. When a cookie is exchanged between a computer and a network server, the server reads the ID and knows what information to provide to you specifically.
If cookies did not exist, you would need to re-login, enter your username and password, select language, currency, and so on every time you open a website.
Types of cookies
Cookies generally have the same function but are different for different uses:
Magic cookies are an old computing term for packets that are sent and received without change. Typically, this is used to log into a computer database, such as an internal business network.
HTTP Cookies is a new version of the magic cookie for web browsing. The HTTP cookie is what we currently use to manage our online experiences. It is also something that some profiteers can use to spy on your online activities and steal your personal information.
HTTP cookies, or Internet cookies, are designed specifically for Internet browsers to track, customize, and store each user’s session information. “session” refers only to the time you spend on a website.
The server only sends cookies when the web browser wants to store them locally. If a user returns to that site in the future, the web browser will return this data as a cookie to the web server, and the browser will remember your previous sessions.
Session cookies are probably the safest form of web cookies. While their functionality allows a website to remember the computer when searching from page to page, it also ends the session, cookies and data transfer.
Persistent cookies permanently store user preferences. They are basically used to authenticate the computer and save your information when you log in and you can continue to search between multiple pages. These cookies also track multiple visits to a web page, and if you visit a store site, it will store everything in your shopping cart, even if you close the site page.
Zombie Cookies and Supercookies
These cookies are not actually cookies. Instead of storing data, they recreate themselves even after the browser cache is cleared. When you delete one, they are often elsewhere. Browser video software such as Microsoft Silverlight and Adobe Flash allow access to the same data in multiple locations.
What information do cookies store?
We know that each cookie stores at least our website name and ID. But some websites also store other information.
- For example, a cookie might contain any of the following:
- How much time you spend on a website.
- Links that you click when you visit the website.
- Personal choices or settings you select.
- The accounts you log in to.
- Record pages you have visited in the past.
- Items in cart
Cookies are generally used to improve the user experience. But many people are always critical of cookies because their personal information is stored and prefer not to allow cookies to access their information.