A Guide to Internet Cookies and How You Can Control Them

online security

IT Support & SecurityWritten By: Suman Kumar Paul

HTTP cookies are important for the modern Internet; however, they offer a risk to your privacy.These are fundamental elements of online browsing, assist web developers in providing you with more personalized, convenient website experiences. Cookies allow websites to remember you, your website logins, shopping carts, and other information. They may, however, be a source of private information for cybercriminals to snoop on.

It might be difficult to protect your privacy online. Luckily, even minimal knowledge of cookies can assist you in blocking unwanted eyes away from your online activities. Although most cookies are completely secure, some can be deployed to monitor you without your permission. Additionally, if a hacker gains access to legal cookies, then they can easily keep an eye on your confidential online activities. In this blog, we will guide you through cookies and ways to stay safe and control them.

What Are Cookies?

Cookies are text files that include small amounts of data, such as a login and password, and are deployed to identify your machine when you connect to a computer network. HTTP cookies are used to identify unique users and to enhance your online surfing experience. The server produces the data saved in a cookie when you connect. This information is marked with an ID that is unique to you and your machine. Whenever a cookie is exchanged between your computer and a network server, the server scans the ID and recognizes which data to provide to you directly.

What Are The Different Types Of Cookies?

There are multiple cookie variations out in the cyber world, but these cookies are mainly of two types:

Session Cookies – This cookie type is mainly used while you navigate a website and are stored only in RAM. Session cookies are automatically cleared after the session expires. These plugins are tailored to operate with certain browsers and help in maintaining user privacy.

Persistent Cookies – These cookies are designed to remain on a computer for an indefinite period. They are also useful in analyzing data tracking performance. Persistent cookies are best for their Authentication features and tracking capabilities.

What Are Cookies Used For?

HTTP cookies are used by websites to improve your browsing experience. Without cookies, you'd have to re-login after leaving a website or rebuild your shopping cart if you mistakenly closed the tab. Cookies have become an integral element of internet-based interaction.

You might be curious to know why cookies are so important. Here are a few roles cookies are meant for:

•    Session Management
•    Personalization
•    Tracking

The above features are designed to offer the best web experience to users and web developers gather essential data for better customization.
Cookies are stored locally on your computer to save up space on a website's servers. As a result, web pages can be personalized while reducing expenses on server maintenance and hosting.

Why Cookies Can Be Dangerous?

Cookies are not destructive because the data in them does not change. They are not capable of infecting computers with malware. Some intrusions, however, can intercept cookies and get access to your browser activities. The risk stems from their capacity to track people's browsing history. To understand, let's look at some cookies to avoid.

•    First Party Cookies – These are produced instantaneously by the website you are viewing. These are usually harmless, as long as you are viewing reliable or non-compromised domains.

•    Third-Party Cookies – Third-party cookies enable advertising or analytics businesses to track a user's browsing habits throughout the web on any website that contains their advertisements.

•    Zombie Cookies – Zombie cookies, like other third-party cookies, can be used by online analytics businesses to monitor the surfing habits of specific individuals. Websites may also employ zombies to restrict selected users from accessing their services. They're sometimes referred to as "flash cookies," and they're extremely difficult to remove.

How to control (Allowing or Removing) Cookies?

Cookies are a non-mandatory element of your browsing experience. You can select specific cookies as per your browsing need.

•    Allowing cookies will speed up your browsing experience. For some people, the cyber security of no cookies is much more important than a seamless online experience.

•    Removing cookies might assist you to reduce the risk of privacy violations. This can clear your browser's tracking and personalization settings.

Final Words

It is important to control cookies, but before removing cookies make sure to evaluate their ease and necessity. Mostly cookies play a significant role in enhancing your web browsing experience. So, we suggest you carefully handle the entire process without risking your personalized browsing settings and preferences.


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