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What Are Internet Cookies? Are They Save?

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what are internet cookies
internet cookies

We have all come across web pages telling us about their cookie policy and asking the us to either accept it or decline. Some users simply ignore the notification. Some do accept it while some decline. Whatever the choice you will make either to ignore, accept or decline should be informed. So what are internet cookies? And are they save?

What Are Internet Cookies

An internet cookie (or other wise known as browser cookie, web cookie or simply ‘cookie’) is a small piece of data or text that a website (or web server – the location where the website resides) sends to the user’s computer through a web browser (e.g chrome, Mozilla Firefox) when the user is browsing the website. So if you accept the cookie notification prompt, these data get sent to you.

What does Internet Cookies Do?

Cookies are designed to be a means for which websites remember the activities of a user as he browses the website. These activities may include items added to the shopping cart in an online store, login in, pages visited. They can also be used to record and remember information a user previously entered into form fields such as names, email and addresses. In a way, they make browsing experience hassle free especially for a website you visit regularly on the same device. Cookies therefore provides a more better user experience. So:

  • Cookies holds data about you on a website you have visited
  • They keep track of your activities and preferences
  • They thus aim to improve

Cookies are able to do all these by allowing website to store information on a user’s machine and subsequently retrieving it. The pieces information are store in a way that they are given a name and a value to the assigned name. Cookies therefore helps the website know if you have visited before and your last activities.

For Example, a website might generate a unique ID number for each user or visitor to the website. It then store this ID number on each user’s machine as a cookie file. This will also contain the information that the website got from the user while browsing the website.

Should You Accept Internet Cookies? Are They Save?

First, let me assure you that internet cookies are not programs or viruses and they can do nothing on your device by it self. So by themselves, they are SAFE. they simply store information that you have entered or that they receive from browsers. But, oh yes there is a but:

Like many technologies, cookies are also not perfect or fool proof, as they can be used for malicious purposes.

However with many anti-spyware programs available and browsers with built in privacy control, you should be safe. As stated earlier cookies improve user experience and makes website navigation easy, however it is important to consider some factors when making the decision to set your machine to always accept cookies or reject them:

  • Privacy concerns

A Serious issue in the use of internet cookie is the privacy concerns. There are some cookies termed as Tracking cookies. They are capable of storing long term information concerning your browsing history and patterns. Often times, this kind of cookie is designed to boost telemarketing and to make internet ads targeting more precise. To tackle this, there cookie laws and policies being developed, but its important that you know this. So here is my advice, read the privacy policy of the website you are to keep its cookies, if not sure about it, don’t keep the cookies, clear it in your browser setting.

  • Shared machine or device :

This refers to a machine used by multiple users. A user’s cookies are stored on the machine or device upon visit to a website. If another user visits the same website with previous user’s cookies still on the machine, the website assumes its the same person. Consequently, the website  believes the new user has visited before, thus loading the available cookie stored on the machine. So if you use a shared machine or device, my advice is, BE CAREFUL of what cookie you leave behind. Note that all browsers allow you to clear all cookies it has saved, just check the privacy and security setting of the browser

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