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What do you know about tracking cookies?

Dec 04

Apart from the chocolate chip type “Cookies”, also known as “HTTP Cookies”, are small bits of data stored as text files on a browser. Websites use those small bits of data to keep track of users and enable user-specific features However, what is the purpose of cookies and risks associated to a users privacy and security?

What goes into a Cookie?

Cookies associate bits of data to a specific user.  If you visit a website, the site may deliver a cookie identifying you as user X.  If you leave this website and return to it again, that cookie will be used by the website to recognise that you are the same user X that was at the site previously.

Cookies generally contain, at a minimum, two pieces of data – a unique user identifier and some information about the user. Cookies may also contain a wide range of attributes that tell browsers what to do with the cookie.

Essentially, they were designed for websites to remember key information or to record the user’s browsing activity.

 Protect your privacy

A big concern with cookies is the invasion of privacy.  However, there are a few things you can do to limit the amount of exposure you face when it comes to Cookies and invasion of privacy.

  • Pay attention to your browser’s security and privacy settings.  Within your browser’s settings you can control how stringent you wish to control your security / privacy settings.
  • Use private or incognito browsing modes.  All modern browsers provide the option to browse the web using a ‘clean’ cookie state.  When using this mode, the browser will not use any existing persistent cookies and when you close the browser all cookies will be deleted.
  • Manage your cookies.  You can view and delete Cookies stored by your browser. 


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