What are cookies?
Cookies are small text files containing a string of characters that can be placed on your computer or mobile device that uniquely identify your browser or device. What are cookies used for?
Cookies allow a site or services to know if your computer or device has visited that site or service before. Cookies can then be used to help understand how the site or service is being used, help you navigate between pages efficiently, help remember your preferences, and generally improve your browsing experience. Cookies can also help ensure marketing you see online is more relevant to you and your interests.
How are cookies used?
- Cookies are simple text files. They are needed to help navigate automatic logins, password authentication, shopping cart functions, personal preference settings and a variety of other functions. Cookies make these functions smooth and hassle-free to the user.
- Cookies don’t search your computer for information. Cookies register the information you provide through your browser. When you enter personal and/or financial information on a website, the cookies store your information, both for ease of use on your next visit, and for ad tracking.
- Information stored by cookies is usually encoded; it is protected from potential computer hackers by security features (which you, the website owner, have put into place.)
- Cookies are necessary and enhance your browsing experience. Without cookies, you would have to reenter all of your information every time you revisited a site. A cookie will simply remember your information on the website to save you time.
- Cookies only store the information you provide. A cookie cannot “grab” your email address. A cookie can store your email address on the website—if you have typed in your email address; a cookie stores all information you voluntarily give when you visit a website.
- Cookies themselves contain very little information other than the URL of the website that created the cookie. Because there is so little information, a cookie can’t be used to identify you by name or other personal information. However, advances in technology have seen an increase in how companies can manipulate cookie information to create a profile of your web surfing habits. Again, this is a profile of a particular consumer’s surfing habits and product preferences, there is no name (your name) attached to the profile.
- Cookies are harmless. They cannot introduce viruses on your computer.
- Cookies are not the same thing as Spyware. A cookie stores your website surfing information; Spyware stores your Internet surfing information (every site you visit).