We encounter cookies when we shop online, log in to our social media accounts, and browse search engine results. These are an essential part of the Internet today.
Website Cookies – small text-based files created on your Hard Drive!
These are to improve your online experience. These files store information regarding your browsing habits like a record of links you click on Facebook, a list of items you store in your cart before checkout. Other information includes the amount of time you spend on a website, accounts you log in to, etc.
Why these named so?
The term “magic cookie” had used for a data packet in 1979; the term “cookie” derived from that according to one theory.
How websites store cookies on your device?
You have seen websites informing you that they are going to give you cookies. You may also get the options to customize the information stored in them. Websites are obeying the EU’s GDPR law. Users must agree to them according to this law. They expire after a predetermined duration; you can also delete them yourself.
Benefits of accepting cookies from the websites you visit:
- Accepting them from an e-commerce website shows you more related items. These tiny files also log the information like the items you added in your virtual basket when you left the page; the time when you returned to shopping using the cart.
- These tiny files are a way for websites to remember whether you have logged in to a site or not. If you don’t accept them, the webserver will never know that you have logged out from the site.
- These text-based files also store your language and currency preferences.
- The “related searches” feature on different sites works with the help of these small files stored on your computer; when you accept them from a website while browsing.
- While submitting online forms, these files hold your information like name, address that you entered into form fields. It will prevent you from typing the same data again and again.
There are two types of website cookies:
These are used during website navigation and stored in the RAM of your device. The back button works with the help of them. These are never written to your hard drive and automatically deleted when the session ends.
Webservers use them for user authentication and tracking purposes. These files remain stored on your hard drive; these are removed automatically at their expiration date.
Accepting website cookies can be dangerous sometimes!!
- Your browsing history and IP address can be public if your Internet browser has set to accept them by default.
- The more you surf the Internet, the more you store them on your system. As a result, local storage occupies a bit.
- As websites collect your data via these files, some websites can sell your sensitive data to third parties. Cybercriminals can access your collected data to hijack your social media and other online accounts.
Accepting these files doesn’t mean that the company will know everything about you. The webserver can read the information only that you have entered using that website. If you didn’t provide anything, the webserver would not collect it. Internet browsers allow disabling the cookies via the settings option.