What are cookies?
A computer cookie is a piece of data which often includes a unique identifier. Cookies are sent to your browser from a web site you visit. Stores as a file on your computer. To identify you as a unique user and track your web usage. Computer cookies can do everything. Monitoring your visit throughout web sites. Tracking how many times you’ve visited the site. How long you’ve been on the site. Save your log-in information at a particular page to remembering important information about your computer.
How long cookies are stored on your PC
It depends on the type of cookies. There are two different types of computer cookies:
Session cookies (“non-persistent cookie”) are cookies that only exist as long as your session on the web site lasts and expires as soon as you leave the website. The primary purpose of session cookies is to help with navigation. Such as by indicating whether or not you’ve already visited a particular page. Retaining information about your preferences once you’ve visited a page. So session cookies are used to facilitate your activities within that site.
The second type of cookies is “persistent cookies”. Persistent cookies are stored on your computer in order to recognize user and retain his/her personal preferences when he/she returns to a website. E.g. because of persistent cookies a website remembers your name and password on protected login pages, your email address appears by default when you open your Yahoo! or Hotmail email account or your personalized home page appears when you visit your favorite online merchant. Persistent cookies exist beyond the life of your Internet session and may live for months or years. In most browsers, you can adjust the length of time that persistent cookies are stored. If anyone has access to your computer, he or she may use information stored in persistent cookies to gather personal information about you.
What are cookies used for?
The primary purposes of cookies are to recognize the user and retain his/her personal preferences when he/she returns to a website. if you personalize Web pages or register for products or services, a cookie helps the Web page server to recall your specific information. This may be useful to simplify the process of recording your personal information, such as billing addresses, shipping addresses, and so on. Cookies allow websites to store user preferences and retrieval of this information for viewing customization of movie listings, weather, and other local information.
This can do everything from monitoring your visit throughout web sites, tracking how many times you’ve visited the site, how long you’ve been on the site, your log-in information at a particular page to remembering important information about your computer. Cookies allow websites to track their visitors so that they can know how many visitors have viewed the site, how many repeat visitors they have received.
Persistent cookies allow web sites to recognize you when you return to these sites. Persistent cookies are used by websites to store yours for preferences. Maintain state information as you navigate different pages on a website or return to the website later. Identifying purposes, demographic statistics and also when you are shopping online e-commerce sites may use them to remember what you have in your shopping basket.
Can cookies be used maliciously?
In one of their malevolent forms, cookies from one web site might track your visits to a different web site. For example, most of the ads that you see on web sites do not come from the site that you are viewing, but from sites that provide ads to many sites. When the advertising site displays the ad, it can send cookies on your computer. This lets the advertising company track your web usage over a range of sites and profile your browsing habits.
Cookies and privacy
Every time you visit a website, it will look for its cookie on your hard drive. It uses the information stored within the cookie to know your name, your shopping preferences, etc. Most browsers offer advanced cookie management options that allow to accept or reject cookies depending on if they are first-party or third-party cookies and/or particular domain of the issuer. So you have the ability to enable or disable cookies or have your browser prompt you before accepting cookies. But be careful as disabling cookies may prevent some websites from working correctly. There is one very simple step for more privacy and to make sure that other sites are not collecting personal information about you without your knowledge, choose to only allow cookies for the web site you are visiting; block or limit cookies from a third-party.
Remove Cookies, does it necessarily need?
Despite cookies are useful, they can also store such information as your name and password on protected login pages, preferences, account information and choices you have made on the site. So, even if you delete browser history, cookies like a map will show your surfing preferences, habits, passwords, etc. So to protect your privacy, you should constantly remove cookies. Remove cookies is doesn’t like removing a program.
Important: Disabling cookies does not make you anonymous or prevent web sites from tracking your browsing habits as websites you visit to collect and record usage information about your computer such as your IP address, browser type, the operating system you are using, web pages last visited, etc. This information automatically comes from your browser to identify you and track your browsing habits and activities.
What cookies can’t do
Can cookies “read” information from a hard drive?
No. Cookies are just harmless files. Cookies cannot look into information stored on your hard-drive. It is technically impossible for cookies to read personal information. Cookies can only store data that is provided by the server or generated by an explicit user action.
Can cookies be used to run programs and deliver viruses on your PC?
No. Cookies cannot be used to run programs or to deliver viruses to your computer.