In the 21st century, where information is the new gold that moves the world, and the Internet is a medium through which companies can easily reach their potential customers, cookies play an important role in understanding consumer habits and people’s tastes and thus offer them customized products and solutions. What are cookies on my computer with definition
What are they and how do they work?
A cookie or computer cookie is a text file that a browser maintains on the user’s hard drive or in a memory segment with information about a visited website, for example, the actions it has performed on it.
Cookies stored on the hard drive do not contain sensitive user information, such as passwords or account numbers. Those that need to record sensitive information are kept in memory, so once they are no longer used or the computer is turned off or restarted, they disappear.
All the web pages you visit ask you to accept them, but since we are never safe from threats on the web, it is important to know what we are accepting when we say that we do not care that a site saves cookies in our browser. In case of not agreeing with the presented conditions, we can always prevent its installation by rejecting the consent request.
What are they for? What are cookies on my computer with definition
Cookies have different uses, the main ones being:
- Some serve to “tell” brands and companies our habits on the Internet and thus receive offers, advertisements and content according to our interests.
- Others serve to personalize the service.
- To control traffic and remember the pages we visit.
- Give security to the site and the user.
- They remember our information on a website.
Types of cookies
According to who administers them:
- Own cookies: they are managed by the webmaster of the website itself and their purpose is to facilitate the procedures on the page itself (eg: shopping cart).
- Third-party cookies: they are managed by another entity other than the webmaster of the website and generally for data analysis purposes (eg: navigation, preferences, etc.).
According to the type of connection:
- Session cookies: the information contained in them is used while browsing the website.
- Persistent cookies: the information contained in them is used at any time.
According to its purpose:
- Technical cookies: intended to monitor website traffic.
- Personalization cookies: intended to maintain the configuration of a user on a website, to maintain a personalized browsing experience adapted to the user.
- Analysis cookies: intended to know the behavior of users on the web, their tastes and customs, identify the profile of the typical visitor …
- Advertising cookies: intended for the promotion of products and services on the websites to users.
Do they pose any risk?
- Theft of data on browsing habits collected in cookies . Cybercriminals use them to produce misleading personalized advertising and in this way redirect the user to fraudulent stores.
- Theft of session cookies (credentials) due to failures in the software or in the web browser protocols.
- Theft of credentials using the technique “session hijacking” or “cookie theft”: the cybercriminal introduces a modified cookie in the browser of the user who has previously accessed a website controlled by him. When you access a page that requires authentication, the modified cookie impersonates the legitimate cookie, thus obtaining the credentials.
- Keep the browser updated , as well as the installed add-ons and plugins .
- Delete browsing data from time to time , as well as cookies.
- Disable the option to remember password so that they are not stored in the browser.
- Set browsing in incognito or private mode when we use a public device.
- Have an antivirus and carry out an analysis of the devices from time to time .
- Review the messages or notifications that appear when we visit a web page before clicking.
Usage examples What are cookies on my computer with definition
How are cookies used in online shopping carts?
When a user adds an item to the cart, it is stored in the cookie. When the user completes the purchase and is ready to pay, the items are retrieved from the cookie and the total purchase is calculated.
In the same way, when a user visits, for example, a gardening site and stops to see gardening books, this action is recorded in the cookie. Once the user returns to the same page or a similar one, the cookie data is collected and the user will be shown advertising about similar books.
Cookies are very useful for users and organizations, simplifying the browsing experience. Their management and programming by the websites must be safe, because otherwise, if they present vulnerabilities, they can be used by potential attackers to commit fraud and / or cause damage.