What is a Cookie?
Cookie – A small item of data sent from a website, that is stored on the user’s device. They help the user’s device remember useful data like items in a shopping cart, which pages have already been visited or form field information. They are messages that web servers pass to your web browser when you visit Internet sites. Your browser stores each message in a small file called cookie.txt. When you request another page from the server, your browser sends the cookie back to the server. These files typically contain information about your visit to the web page, as well as any information you’ve volunteered, such as your name and interests.
Examples of Them
Servers can use them to provide personalized web pages. When you select preferences at a site that uses this option, the server places the information in a cookie. When you return, the server uses the information in the cookie to create a customized page for you.
Only the website that creates a cookie can read it, so other servers do not have access to your information. Additionally, web servers can use only the information that you provide or the choices that you make while visiting the website.
Webmasters have always been able to track access to their sites, but cookies make it easier to do so. In some cases, they come not from the site you’re visiting, but from advertising companies that manage the banner ads for a set of sites (such as DoubleClick.com). These advertising companies can develop detailed profiles of the people who select ads across their customers’ sites.
Accepting a cookie does not give server access to your computer or any of your personal information (except for any information that you may have purposely given, as with online shopping). Also, it is not possible to execute code from a cookie, and not possible to use a cookie to deliver a virus.
Viewing and Monitoring
For privacy reasons, you may wish to view the cookies currently stored in your browser or control which sites you accept cookies from. You may also decide how long they may be stored and used. Most modern browsers offer the ability to control cookie settings; consult your browser’s help files, and see:
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