online cookies

10 Things You Should Know About Web Cookies

Linkilaw Internet Security, Internet Technology

We all know that web cookies exist, however most of us don’t really know anything about them. They’re a technical part of each person’s internet experience and most people probably aren’t even aware that cookies are being used on every website they visit or why.

In this post you’ll learn everything you need to know about web cookies, and we’ll even dispel a few myths along the way. You’ll also learn about a new web cookies legislation that will be of interest to all business owners and entrepreneurs.

1. Cookies Store Your Information

Ever wondered how a website you land on that requires your login can remember your login details once you start typing?

It’s all because of cookies!

Every time you land on a website, a cookie is stored on your computer and then sent back to your browser and the website’s web server. This is why some websites can remember login details like user names, passwords, and any customised settings. The cookies store this information in your web browser.

2. There Are Two Types of Web Cookies

There are two types of web cookies; session and persistent cookies:

  • Session cookies are the ones that end up being stored in your browser’s temporary subfolder while you visit a website.
  • Persistent cookies are those stored permanently in your browser’s subfolder and become activated when you return to the site.

3. They Don’t Contain Spyware or Viruses

There is a belief that many cookies contain spyware or viruses that will harm your computer but we want to take your mind off worrying and tell you that’s not the case. Cookies are set by each individual website and they’re simply small pieces of technical information, sent and then stored in your browser.

Cookies really aren’t the enemy many people think them to be. In fact, there’s something far worse you should be afraid of.

4. They Allow Advertisers to Target You

When you visit a website, that cookie is also sent to the advertiser on that particular website. This allows the advertiser to track websites you visit, and this is often why you end up with such tailored advertising messages coming your way on some websites you visit.

5. There is Such A Thing As Malicious Cookies

We know that many people are scared of cookies. Despite the fact they don’t contain malware or viruses, there are cookies that can be used for malicious purposes.

These malicious cookies track you across all the sites you visit, compiling a profile of you and your interests. Then that information can be sold to advertising companies who use this information to bombard you with targeted ads online.

However, don’t despair! If you have an up to date antivirus program it will be able to flag suspicious cookies.

6. There Are Two Categories of Cookies

There are two categories of cookies you need to know about: first party and third party cookies.

  • First party cookies are the ones that come from the sites you visit, and these are set by each individual website.
  • Third party cookies are the ones that store information about your preferences for a particular website and they come from a website that you aren’t visiting. Their primary role is simply to send your information to advertisers for marketing purposes.

7. Blocking Cookies Limits Your Browsing Experience

You can choose to block cookies but you’ll find that your browsing experience becomes extremely limited. Many websites, especially those that require shopping online need you to allow cookies seeing as they track user preferences and more.

If you block cookies then you won’t be able to access many sites. If you still want to block cookies, then only block third-party cookies. At least that way you won’t have advertisers tracking you online.

8. They Don’t Breach Your Privacy

There is a myth that cookies breach privacy but it’s not entirely true. Yes, they do store personal information but cookies are always kept to each individual website in your browser’s subfolder.

9. There is Now A Law That Protects Privacy Online

That law is called the Cookie Law. This law states that businesses with websites must now get consent from visitors as to how their information will be used, stored or retrieved. The whole point behind this law is to protect and guarantee the privacy of online users.

All businesses with a website must make sure they are compliant with this law or face penalties. This explains why you’ll often now see a notification asking you if you’d like to receive cookies while browsing.

10. Cookies Give You A Better Web Experience

Despite all the myths around cookies, they actually do give you a better web experience.

By remembering who you are and storing your information, they give you a more seamless web experience. If you customise a web page then the cookies will remember it. Same if you enter your login details into a site, the cookies will remember it so your next visit is even faster and easier.

Hopefully, you now know a thing or two about cookies and a few myths you once had about them are now dispelled.

Want to make sure that your business is complying with the cookie law in the UK? Then make sure you speak with one of our qualified legal experts and avoid any legal problems in the future. It’s not worth the headache so make sure that you’re covered today.

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