Cookies

Good or Bad?

What is a Cookie?

A web cookie is a small piece of data sent from a website and stored in the users web browser while the user is browsing that website. Every time the user loads the website, the cookie is sent from the browser to the server to tell the website about the users previous activity. Cookies were created to be a reliable system for websites to remember noteworthy information (such as passwords and shopping carts).


What are the Dangers and Benefits of Cookies?

Advantages

Cookies make web browsing a lot easier for the user, they're responsible for personalized services, such as Google Mail and Yahoo, functioning correctly. Users are kept logged in using cookies, they save personal preferences and they make online sales a whole bunch easier.



Disadvantages

Cookies allow websites to save more then just usernames and passwords. They also allow a website to collect information on the user and their online activity. This information can then be passed on to a third party, they can then use this information to advertise to you and pester you.

Different types of cookie

Session Cookies - A session cookie only exists while the user is still browsing the website.


Persistent Cookies - A persistent cookie has an expiration date. If the expiration date is a year then a year after the user has saved the persistent cookie it will expire and delete itself.


Secure Cookie - A secure cookie is more safe and less likely to be exposed to cookie theft.


Third Party Cookie - A third party cookie is a less secure option. These are usually used by the sites that want to advertise to you. It is best to disable these cookies.

Adware and Spyware

Adware is a software package which monitors the users online activity without consent. It then uses this information to advertise products and companies to the user to generate income for its supplier.



Spyware is the software which provides the personal online information to the adware suppliers.


Both of the above are types of virus which can be harmful to your computer system and are brought in to your system via unprotected websites. You can prevent your computer from getting these sort of viruses by looking at the search bar up the top and seeing if it says https or just http, if it shows only http without the s or the green padlock it is not a verified, protected site and may be dangerous for your system. Another way to help prevent adware and spyware is to go into your browser settings and turn off cookies.