Are You Managing Your Cookies?

Cookies, Cache, Browsing history…Are you paying attention to them?
No, we are not talking about the cookies you eat.  We are talking about the internet ones, because there are some things you definitely should know!

Lets’ start with the definition of an internet cookie. Cookies are pieces of information saved about you when you’re online.  They also track you as you browse the internet. When you visit a website, the site sends the cookie to your computer.  (Assuming you clicked the box to allow it.)  Your computer stores it in a file located inside your web browser.


So what does the cookie do there?
First-Party Cookies

First-party cookies are used by the site you’re visiting. As an example; Let’s say you are visiting a weather website and put in your zip code to look up the weather in your area.  The next time you visit the same site, it will remember your zip code because of cookies.

Online retailers use first-party cookies to keep track of the items in a user’s shopping cart.  Without cookies, your shopping cart would reset to zero every time you clicked a new link or accidently exited the site.


Third-Party cookies

These are placed by advertisers to see what you’re interested in.  They track sites, pages, and products you viewed. The information gathered by these cookies allow advertisers to tailor specific ads to you.  It also allows them to suggest other items that might be of interest to you based on your browsing history.


Are Internet cookies safe?

Under normal circumstances, cookies cannot transfer viruses or malware to your computer. Because the data in a cookie doesn’t change when it travels back and forth, it has no way to affect how your computer runs.

However, some viruses and malware may be disguised as cookies. Also, third-party tracking cookies can cause security and privacy concerns.  As such, it makes it easier for parties you can’t identify to watch where you are going and what you are doing online.  Also, cookies allow sites to store your personal information (i.e. name, address etc).  This makes is convenient for you to complete on-line forms (allowing them to auto-complete).


Should I delete cookies?

It’s always a good idea to clear out your computers cache, browsing history and cookies on a regular basis. The downside is that your saved usernames etc. will be deleted.  You’d need to re-enter them when re-visiting these sites.  On the plus side, your privacy is more secure and your browser will work better.


For information on how to clear your cookies, cache or browsing history, click on the links below:

Click here for directions on how to clear all cookies and cache>>

Click here for directions on deleting specific websites cookies and cache>>