Did you know that December 4th is National Cookie Day? Rather than celebrate with sweet treats, we thought we’d take the opportunity to talk about a different kind of cookie.
What is a computer “cookie”?
A cookie is a small holder of information. When visiting a website, that website may send your computer a cookie, which your computer then stores. These cookies are typically used to save interactions between you and the website.
What kind of information do cookies store?
Cookies can store a wide variety of useful information such as search history and passwords.
Here is one example: You visit an online store and put a pair of shoes in your digital shopping cart. Days later, you go back to that website and find that the item is still in your cart. Without cookies, information like this would clear every time you leave a web page.
Here’s another one: When you visit social media or you online bank, is your login information saved? You can thank cookies for these simplified interactions.
Do cookies pose a threat to my computer’s security?
Cookies themselves are harmless, as they simply store small bits of information. However, third-party cookies can pose a privacy concern. Advertisements often contain their own cookies, so if you visit a site with ads, you could be picking up these third-party cookies. By storing these in your computer, companies that you cannot identify are able to collect data about what you are doing online.
How do I manage my cookies?
Internet browsers allow you the ability to enable, block, or delete cookies. Simply visit the advanced settings on the toolbar in your browser to get started.
When managing your cookies, it’s important to note that banning all cookies may not be necessary. Creating a custom setting can provide you with privacy on the web while allowing the “good” cookies to simplify your internet experience.
Happy National Cookie Day!