Whether you are searching for the most suitable product or are just curious to explore the latest trends, the Internet is the place to go. With its vast and ever-growing repository of information, the Internet has evolved into an invaluable resource for exploring and discovering practically anything. It allows you to easily compare products and prices, find ratings from other users, and access a wide range of educational content.
On Day 3 of Data Privacy Week, let’s learn about cookies.1,2,3
Cookies are small text files that are stored on your computer or mobile device when you visit a website.
However, this data may be sold to third-party companies, who may use it to target you with advertisements or sell your personal information to a few others who may use it for malicious purposes.
Therefore, it is essential that you understand what they are and how to manage them for a better and safer browsing experience.
Different Types of Cookies
The three main categories of cookies are session cookies, persistent cookies, and third-party cookies.
Session Cookies: When you visit a website, the server stores a small amount of data on your computer in the form of a session cookie. This cookie is only stored temporarily and is deleted when you close the browser or log out of the website. For instance, when you log into a banking website, the server will store a session cookie on your computer that contains your username and other authentication information necessary to keep your session active. Once you log out of the session, the cookie gets deleted automatically.
Persistent Cookies: Persistent cookies are created when you visit a website and are stored in your computer for a longer time (or until you delete them). They are often used to remember login information, preferences and other data so that websites can provide a more personalized experience. They also help websites track user activity and behaviors, allowing them to improve their services. For instance, persistent cookies can allow a website to remember choices you made in the past, such as the language you prefer to view a website in, or the items you may have placed in an online shopping cart.
Third-party Cookies: Websites other than the one you are visiting can create and save third-party cookies on your computer. These cookies track your activity across multiple websites, such as which pages you have visited, where you have clicked, and so on. This information is then used to deliver targeted ads to you. For example, if you visit a clothing website, you may notice advertisements for clothing on other websites you visit.
Accepting and Declining Cookies
By accepting cookies, you are essentially giving a website access to all the data associated with that cookie. This data can include your browsing habits, location, IP address, and other personal information that you may not have intended to share. This could be used to target you with ads, track your movements, or even worse, steal your identity or other sensitive information. For example, malicious actors can use the data collected by tracking cookies to target you with phishing emails from what seem to be legitimate sources, such as your bank or other financial institution.
Tips to Manage Cookies for Safe Browsing Experience
Here are some tips that can help you have a safe browsing experience.5,6,7
- Regularly check the settings of your browser to ensure that it is up to date and secure. If possible, disable all cookies by default to be on the safe side. You can accept cookies of trusted websites if you want to.
- Delete cookies from your browser on a regular basis to ensure that your personal information is not being collected and stored without your knowledge.
- Do not accept cookies on unencrypted websites. If the website is not encrypted, data sent from the website is sent in plain text, making it vulnerable to theft. Accepting cookies on unencrypted sites could put your data at risk.
- Do not accept cookies flagged by antivirus software. Cookies flagged by antivirus software are likely malicious, and by accepting these cookies, you may be exposing your device to malicious software that can steal personal data or cause other damage.
Now that you know what cookies are, you know what to do the next time a cookie pop-up appears. To read more blogs like this, go to BYJU’S FutureSchool Blog.
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- Behera, R.(2022).What Are Cookies & Different Types of Web Cookies, Explained. Retrieved January 24, 2023, from https://www.adpushup.com/blog/types-of-cookies/
- What is a Cookie? How it works and ways to stay safe. (n.d.). Retrieved January 24, 2023, from https://www.kaspersky.com/resource-center/definitions/cookies
- Dutko, J.(2018). How Computer Cookies Affect Your Online Privacy | CRU Solutions. Retrieved January 24, 2023, from https://crusolutions.com/blog/how-types-of-computer-cookies-affect-your-online-privacy/
- Munro, O.(2018). Impact of Accepting or Declining Cookie Popups. Retrieved January 24, 2023, from https://www.eci.com/blog/16055-what-is-a-cookie-impact-of-accepting-or-declining-those-cookie-popups.html
- Johansen, A. G.(2022). Should you accept cookies? 5 times you definitely shouldn’t | Norton. Retrieved January 24, 2023, from https://us.norton.com/blog/privacy/should-i-accept-cookies
- Patrizio, A.(2020). 10 tips for a secure browsing experience | Computerworld. Retrieved January 24, 2023, from https://www.computerworld.com/article/3673894/secure-browsing-experience-tips.html
- Hanko, K.(2022). Should I Accept Cookies? When You Should & Shouldn’t. Retrieved January 24, 2023, from https://clario.co/blog/should-you-accept-cookies/