What Are Cookies? How Does It Track Your Usage Behavior?

What are cookies? Cookies are very small text files that are stored from the web server to your browser when you visit a website. Cookies are used to store information about your usage and preferences so that the web server does not have to ask for this information over and over again, reducing the time it takes to download a page.

Cookies are often used to store personal registration information, such as your name, address, unchecked items in your shopping cart, favorite pages, things you may be searching for, etc. They allow the web server to store information about you when you visit the site. They allow web servers to match your specific needs and preferences to personal information when you visit a website.

what are cookies

Why are they called cookies?

There are many different explanations as to why cookies are so named. Some believe the term comes from “magic cookies”, a name derived from the UNIX operating system.

Others believe the name comes from the fairy tale of the candy house, where the path through the forest is marked by dropping cookie crumbs behind them along the way.

Are computer cookies dangerous?

Cookies themselves are completely harmless, but some websites and search engines use them to track users as they browse the web, collecting highly personal information and often secretly passing that information on to other websites without being asked.

Are cookies used to spy on me?

As mentioned above, a cookie is a simple text file that cannot be used to perform programs or perform any other tasks. It cannot be used to view data on your computer or to retrieve other information from your hard drive.

Furthermore, cookies can only be accessed by the server that enabled them. Therefore, it is not possible for a web server to snoop on cookies set by other servers to capture sensitive personal information.

what are cookies

How do advertisers track your usage history over the Internet?

There are two types of cookies: first-party cookies and third-party cookies.

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Both types of cookies are stored on your computer and are used for similar reasons, but the difference comes from who creates them and how they are used.

First-party cookies are created by the web page you visit, while third-party cookies are created by other websites through the website you visit. As we mentioned above, both types can only be accessed by the website that created the cookie.

The use of third-party cookies is not as obvious as first-party cookies because when you visit a website, you may not expect that a script processed by an external website is leaving cookies on your computer. They are usually created through third-party tools or embedding codes in advertisements, and some browsers automatically block third-party cookies.

Why are Internet cookies always controversial?

While cookies can only be retrieved by the site that set them up, many online advertising companies attach cookies containing unique user IDs to banner ads.

While the site with the ad cannot track your footprint through the page, the company that placed the ad can.

This is what makes third-party cookies so scary, and while it may sound uncomfortable, tracking your online activity isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

If tracking is used within a website, this information can help website operators improve their UI/UX design, enhance popular areas, and remove or redesign user-unfriendly areas to provide a better user experience.

Tracking information can also be used to give you and the site operator more precise placement of information or recommendations for purchases, which is a feature many people will appreciate. For example, Shopee will display recommended products based on your past browsing and purchasing history.

what are cookies

Should you disable cookies on your computer?

The answer to this question varies depending on how you want to use the site.

If you visit certain trusted websites frequently, then you are allowing them to capture your cookies so that they can provide you with personalized recommendations.

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Many websites use cookies to make your web browsing process as personalized and efficient as possible if you don’t want to have to enter the same information every time you visit a site. If you set your web browser to disable cookies, you will not be able to take advantage of the time and convenience that these cookies provide.

You can stop some web pages from capturing cookies by setting your browser to a high security level, which will alert you whenever a cookie is to be captured on a different web page, so that you can choose whether or not to accept it.

However, since almost all websites use cookies nowadays, disabling cookies will make you spend more time on accepting or rejecting cookies, which makes it more troublesome and even annoying to use.

Overall, cookies are really not harmful to your computer or web browsing experience, and they only become a gray area when advertisers access and use your cookies in an unethical way. Nevertheless, your personal financial information remains safe and secure, and cookies are not inherently dangerous.

How do I manage cookies?

There are several ways to manage cookies in your browser. To accept them and use them properly, you don’t need to make any changes to your web browser, just browse the site normally, and if the site needs to leave cookies, it will do so on its own.

Cookies are enabled by default on most browsers, but if you browse anonymously through your browser, or if you have manually disabled cookies on some sites, cookies may actually be disabled altogether.

However, you do have some control over these browser cookies, and you may want to browse the web without having cookies stored, or you may want to remove browser cookies from a particular site.

Proxy servers are a way to use the Internet without having cookies stored on your browser, but not all proxy servers support deactivating cookies, so make sure you have this feature first.

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Another option is to use cookies temporarily and automatically delete them when you end your visit to the site, which you can do by browsing in anonymous mode.

Or, if you want to use cookies to keep your login information read automatically, you can always delete it manually later. You can also clear cookies for a particular site so that cookies for other sites are not affected.

You can also see what cookies are stored in your browser. Each browser has a different way of viewing cookies, such as the common Goolge Chrome browser, where you can type “chrome://settings/siteData ” to jump directly to the relevant settings page.

The History of Cookies

Many well-known websites such as Youtube, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram use cookies to highly customize and deliver accurate display content so that you can see the information you like.

However, it is also important to emphasize that some websites and advertisers use cookies for other purposes. They can collect sensitive personal information about you and use it to display advertisements, and this is often a point of contention with cookies.

The use of cookies can indeed provide some benefits and make browsing the web easier. On the other hand, you may be concerned that your privacy may be violated. However, this is not necessarily something you need to worry about, as cookies are perfectly harmless in their own right.

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