What are computer cookies
Mention “cookies” and most people expect a chocolate chip treat to appear. When talking about computers cookies they aren’t on the drop-down menu. In fact, they’re not even physical objects. Yet, they do a great deal of the work that makes it more convenient for you to browse the Internet. Even thou, they can be troublesome if you don’t know how to clear or delete cookies.
A computer “cookie” formally known as an HTTP cookie, a web cookie, an Internet cookie or a browser cookie. The name is a shorter version of “magic cookie,” which is a term for a packet of data that a computer receives. Then, sends back without changing or altering it. Therefore, a computer cookie consists of information. When you visit a website, the website sends the cookie to your computer. Your computer stores it in a file located inside your web browser. (To help you find it, this file is known as “Cookies.”)
There are different explanations for where cookies got their name. Some people believe that cookies got their name from “magic cookies” which are part of UNIX, an operating system. Many people believe that the name originates from the story of Hansel and Gretel. They were able to mark their trail through a dark forest by dropping cookie crumbs behind them.
Are Computer Cookies Dangerous?
The easiest answer is that cookies, in and of themselves, are completely harmless. However, some websites and search engines use them to track users as they browse the web. To correct highly personal information and often transfer that information to other websites without permission or warning. This is why we often hear about web cookies in the news.
Can Computer cookies Spy On Me?
Computer cookies are simple text files that cannot execute programs or carry out tasks. Rather than, view data on your hard disk, or capture other information from your computer. Furthermore, you can access cookies through the server that initiates them. This makes it impossible for one web server to snoop around in cookies set by other servers, grabbing sensitive bits of your personal information. Although cookies can only be retrieved by the server that set them. Many online advertisement companies attach cookies containing a unique user ID to banner ads. Many of the major ad companies online serve ads to thousands of different websites. This is so they can retrieve their cookies from all of these sites, too. Though the site that carries the ad can’t track your progress through the web, the company
that serves the ads can.
This may sound ominous, but tracking your progress online isn’t necessarily such a bad thing. While tracking within a site, the data can help site owners tweak their designs. Enhance popular areas and eliminate or redesign “dead ends” for more efficient user experience. Tracking data helps to give users and site owners more targeted information. Or, make recommendations on purchases, content, or services to users, a feature many users appreciate. For example, one of Amazon.com’s most popular retail features is the targeted recommendations. It makes for new merchandise based on your past viewing and purchase history.
Where to look to enable or delete computer cookies
Here’s how to find and manage your cookies in order to protect your privacy online:
- Find where you store cookies. Each browser manages cookies in a different location. For example, in Internet Explorer, you can find them by clicking “Tools” and then “Internet Options.” From there, select “General” and “Browsing history” and “Settings.” In Chrome, choose “Preferences” from the Chrome menu in the navigation bar, which will display your settings. Then expand the “Advanced” option to display “Privacy and security.” From there, open “Content settings” and “Cookies.”
- Manage your cookies. Every browser gives you a range of options for enabling or deleting cookies. Internet Explorer, for instance, allows you to manage cookies under “Privacy” and “Advanced.” In Chrome, find where you can store cookies as outlined above. Then select your management options under “Cookies.”
Banning all browser cookies could make some websites difficult to navigate. However, a setting that controls or limits third-party and tracking cookies can help protect your privacy. While still making it possible to shop online and carry out similar activities.
Computer cookies, small text files containing very small amounts of data, were originally designed to make life easier for Web searchers. Popular sites such as Amazon, Google
, and Facebook
use them to deliver highly customized, personal web pages that deliver targeted content to users.
Unfortunately, some websites and internet advertisers have found other uses for cookies. They can and do gather sensitive personal information that is of use to profile users with advertisements. That seems almost intrusive with how targeted they are.
Computer cookies do offer quite a few very useful benefits that make Web browsing very convenient. On the other hand, you might be concerned that your privacy has the potential to be violated. However, this isn’t something that web users should necessarily be concerned about. Cookies are absolutely harmless.
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