Browser Cookies: What Are They And What Do I Need Them For?

Browser cookies are small, often encrypted files located in browser directories. They are designed to hold a certain amount of data specific to a particular website. They are used to help users navigate through websites efficiently. Cookies are a convenient way to carry information from one session on a website to another. They can be a useful when you are in control of them. 

Are cookies bad? 

Cookies are not viruses. They do not in themselves present a threat to privacy since they can only be used to store information that a user has volunteered or that the web server already has. This data can be misused when a website isn’t secure. This allows hackers to intercept cookies and view the information they carry. You should only use cookies on sites you trust to be safe and secure.  

While they may not be inherently bad, they can be annoying. Have you noticed after clicking on an ad, more and more advertisements for the same product pop up? Advertising networks use cookies to track the ads you’ve viewed. There are also cookies that track users without their explicit knowledge and help advertisers build profiles of users.

On the flip-side, they can be helpful. They do useful things like store your shopping car information between sessions and save you the hassle of logging into a site every time you open your browser.

What can you do about cookies? 

Many people prefer to limit the amount of information gathered about them and can do this my limiting the kind of cookies that their browser accepts and keeps.

*Delete cookies

If you open your browser settings, there will be an option to clear cookies. Clearing this allows you to effectively reset your browser. However, it should be noted that if you do clear your cookies, you will lose all your saved login information from that browser. There are some websites that won’t even allow you to access it if you disable cookies.

*Update your antivirus software

If erasing your data and history on your cookies isn’t an option or something you are interested in doing, make sure that your antivirus software is up to date. Having this software up to date will flag suspicious cookie and helps prevent them from being used to steal information.

*Automated cleaning options 

There is automated software available that you can install to manage deleting cookies on a regular basis. This is a good option for those that don’t want to have to think about deleting cookies on a regular basis.