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What Are Cookies? How Cookies Impact Your Internet Browsing Experience and Security

Cookies are usually misunderstood to be negative. Most times, it is made out to be some spying system to over your computer; other times, it seems like a harmless computer peripheral. Even if you don’t deactivate your antivirus, you still need to know about cookies.

This post will explain cookies to you. To start with, cookies are not computer programs; they are mere text files that don’t do anything on their own. Two things contained in the cookie file are the name of the website and specific user IDs.

Cookies

How do cookies work?

The first time you visit a website that uses cookies, your browser downloads the cookies to your computer. On your next visit to that website, your PC confirms if a cookie from the site exists on the system; if it does, the information the cookie stores is sent back to the website.

On receiving cookie information, the website can tell that you have visited them before. What happens next is that the site acknowledges your previous preferences and settings, and give you the respective treatment preconfigured on the site and improve your overall experience

Advantages of cookies

Some cookies are more complicated than others. Most of them record things like the time you spend on the site’s pages, clicked links, as well as your preferences for the site layout, etc. Also, cookies are how websites remember items you added to your cart on a previous visit. Cookies are quite beneficial and give you a more personal interaction with websites.

Disadvantages of cookies

With all said in the previous section, you might wonder what the fuzz is about. Right? The primary concern with cookies is privacy violation from organizations and governments.

Cookies

Cookies are not necessarily harmful; the information they keep is not particularly something secret. People are merely concerned about how the information could be used to target them and send them ads.

Cookies in the law

Most websites today use some form of cookies, and you do not see them in action; they work in the background while you browse website to website. You may not even know you’re hacked.

You can either disable cookies or allow them to do their thing. However, since 2012, the EU demands that sites ask for your permission to store and/or use your data immediately you enter the websites. You usually get the pop-up when you get to the homepage; you can either accept, deny, or ignore this notice.

Cookies are not harmful or spy on you, so they are nothing to be scared of. However, they can, of course, interfere with your internet experience. Privacy concerns are valid, and yes, some tools do track your location for malicious purposes.

Cookies

That’s about all you need to know about cookies without going into the complicated stuff. On most browsers, you can configure how they store these guys on your machine.

Look out for the privacy area in ‘Tools’ or ‘Advanced Settings.’ People are worried about the ads, but then, you could look at the targeted ad delivery as a good thing. You get relevant, useful ads and not random stuff you are not interested in or may not want to see.


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