PROBLEM WITH COOKIES

Mar 23, 2021 6:00 PM ET

Problem with cookies.

It is time to learn more about cookies. Unfortunately, we are not going to talk about chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, or fortune cookies. This time we will talk about internet cookies, or as they are also referred to as HTTP cookies, or web cookies or browser cookies.  We all face cookies online on an everyday basis (even if we do not know about it), so it is good to know to control them, otherwise, they will control you. I am Natalia Golenkova, US-based Digital Advisor, Google certified specialist, and Google Partner with hands-on experience in digital marketing and online security. I’ll shed light on the types of cookies and the ways to control them online. After reading this article you will be well prepared for dealing with cookies online.

What are cookies in the browser?

Cookies are a way of keeping track of visitors and users on the internet. They were originally created to help optimize users’ experience online. Cookies can store certain pieces of information that you allow to share or types during your activity online. Examples of the cookies can be your name, address, email address, precache preferences in search, personal preferences in search, saved credentials from previous visits, and others. Based on your cookies you can receive personalized ads, shopping suggestions, or skip signing in or checkout information for the website you use regularly. Specific cookies known as HTTP cookies are used to identify specific users and improve your web browsing experience. Data stored in a cookie is created by the server upon your connection. This data is labeled with an ID unique to you and your computer. When the cookie is exchanged between your computer and the network server, the server reads the ID and knows what information to specifically serve to you.

Natalia Golenkova Article Problems with Cookies

First-party cookies VS third-party cookies.

Cookies remember website configuration (e.g. language preferences), login details, and products added to the shopping cart, even after a user leaves the site, but because cookie files are widely used to collect certain pieces of information, they can also be used to carry out advertising processes like behavioral profiling and retargeting. Some cookies may pack more of a threat than others depending on where they come from. 

First-party cookies are directly created by the website you are using. These are generally safer, as long as you are browsing reputable websites or ones that have not been compromised.

Third-party cookies are more troubling. They are generated by websites that are different from the web pages users are currently surfing, usually because they’re linked to ads on that page. Visiting a site with 10 ads may generate 10 cookies, even if users never click on those ads. Third-party cookies let advertisers or analytics companies track an individual’s browsing history across the web on any sites that contain their ads. Consequently, the advertiser could determine that a user first searched for running apparel at a specific outdoor store before checking a particular sporting goods site and then a certain online sportswear boutique.

Zombie cookies are from a third-party and permanently installed on users’ computers, even when they opt not to install cookies. They also reappear after they’ve been deleted. When zombie cookies first appeared, they were created from data stored in the Adobe Flash storage bin. They are sometimes called “flash cookies” and are extremely difficult to remove. Like other third-party cookies, zombie cookies can be used by web analytics companies to track unique individuals’ browsing histories. Websites may also use zombies to ban specific users.

Problems with cookies

Almost every website is trying to use your cookies in one or another way because this information is valuable. Cookies by themselves do not generate notable security risks to most users. Although, malicious cookies could be delivered by suspicious websites. The best advice to avoid security threats is to browse carefully, avoid suspicious websites and keep your browser and applications up to date. The bigger issue with cookies is privacy concerns. 

Should I delete cookies?

The good thing about cookies is that we, as users, have an option to control cookies in the website you visit and in your browser. 

Control your cookies on the websites you visit. 

Websites should present their users with the banner or pop-up window regarding the way they use cookies and the way users can accept these policies or not. 

Control your cookies in the browser.

You can also control cookies in your browser. Each Internet browser (Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, or others ) is different, but if you will try to go into Settings and go for Privacy & Security, you should be able to control your cookies with the browser.

You can also consider using a private browsing session, like Chrome Incognito Mode, which will restrict many cookies options white you surf the internet.

So, generally, cookies should not be a problem to your security online, 

How to allow cookies? 

If you allow cookies, it will streamline your surfing, but might increase the risk of privacy breaches. For some users, no cookies security risk is more important than a convenient internet experience. Here’s how to allow cookies:

Find the cookie section — typically under Settings,  Privacy — sometimes listed under Tools, Internet Options, or Advanced.
Click the boxes to allow cookies. Sometimes the option says, “Allow local data.”

How to remove cookies? 

Removing cookies can help you mitigate your risks of privacy breaches. It can also reset your browser tracking and personalization. Removing normal cookies is easy, but it could make certain websites harder to navigate. Without cookies internet, users may have to re-enter their data for each visit. In most cases, cookies improve the web experience, but they should be handled carefully. Different browsers store cookies in different places, but usually, you can:

Find the Settings, Privacy — sometimes listed under Tools, Internet Options, or Advanced.
Follow the prompts on the available options to manage or remove cookies.

Conclusions. 

Almost every website is trying to use your cookies in one or another way because this information is valuable. Cookies by themselves do not generate notable security risks to most users. Although, malicious cookies could be delivered by suspicious websites. The best advice to avoid security threats is to browse carefully, avoid suspicious websites and keep your browser and applications up to date. The bigger issue with cookies is privacy concerns. So, regardless of how you handle cookies, it’s best to remain on guard and clean up your cookies often. If you need any help to improve your digital presence, please let our team know. 

Tags:
Content Marketing, IPS, Reportedtimes, Financial Content, Extended Distribution, iCN Internal Distribution, English

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