What are Cookies?

A cookie, also known as a web cookie, or browser cookie, is a small piece of data sent from the website which you are browsing and stored in your web browser . When you browse the same website in the future, the data stored in the cookie can be retrieved by the website to notify the website of your previous activity. In this way Cookies can be helpful to the user. For instance when you login to your gmail your password comes up automatically so you don’t need to remember it.

There is a push on at present for websites to ask you if they can store cookies. However many people are not sure what they are and think they are dangerous so they automatically say no. There are ways of deleting cookies from your hard-drive if you are worried. How to delete cookies

Cookies cannot carry viruses and cannot install malware on your computer, however tracking cookies and especially third-party tracking cookies are commonly used as ways to compile long-term records of individuals’ browsing histories. This prompted European and US law makers to take action in 2011.

Cookies do not in themselves present a threat to privacy, since they can only be used to store information that you have volunteered or that the web server already has. Whilst it is possible that this information could be made available to specific third party websites, this is no worse than storing it in the database that you entered the information into in the first place.

There are many ways to increase security of your personal information which I will be posting about at a later date.