Follow us

Cookies from youtube.com – better not

Thousands hunting domains are waiting for new account given away

Published: November 10, 2021 By Hamna Imran

Cookies; Essential yet Dangerous

Image source – pandasecurity.com

Have you ever visited an online shopping website after a long time and saw your cart contained the stuff you added the last time you had good money?

Well, according to last data, collected by TAG estimated number of attacks involving cookies in average is about 300k targeted attempts every month running with over thousand fake domains, created to impersonate popular websites.

Well, that happens because you enabled or accepted the cookies of that certain website. Cookies are small files sent to your devices to store trivial information about you and your internet activity like your username, password, like, in the example mentioned above, your shopping cart.

Cookies in Websites

Hearing the name "cookie" must make you think of a dessert. Well, that's not the case in computers and web browsing. Cookies were formally known as HTTP cookies, web cookies, and internet or browser cookies and are the shorter name for "magic cookies."

Cookies on Websites

Image source – gtricks.com

In simple words, internet cookies can be defined as data packets containing information bits about a user.

They are stored in the browser directories, so you don't have to log in and put in all the previous information you did when you first logged in on a website.

Cookies contain information about the user. Largely, cookies are present to enhance the user experience.

Uses of Cookies

While web surfing, you come across different websites related to everyday life. The majority of websites show the cookies disclaimer right at the beginning suggesting to "Accept All."

Before you browse anything, many of them often ask you to log in, and that's mainly by email, whereas some might ask you to register and fill out a form, providing your name, email address, and password.

All this information is stored and wrapped inside a gift called a cookie and sent to your web browser.

The cookie will be sent from the web browser to your web server whenever you visit the same website. This is because the web servers contain no memories.

The hosted website sends cookies to your PC's hard disk, so the site can keep a record of your information.

Uses of Cookies

The interchange of messages and data helps you get personalized content and ads such as your location already being shown for shipping.

So the main purpose, cookies are spread all over the internet, is to save your information for the next use and so that the respective websites can provide their services.

Websites also analyze the traffic on their site and tend to provide a safer experience using cookies.

How Do I Enable/Delete Cookies on Websites

Cookies store information about you on a specific website, so you don't go signing in every time you use the website. Sometimes though, you have to, according to your preferences, manually enable or disable cookies for certain websites.

  1. From the Google homepage, go to the three dots shown in the top right corner.
  2. Select "Settings" from the drop-down menu.
  3. You will be directed to Chrome's settings.
  4. Select "Privacy and Security."
  5. The option "Cookies and other site data" will allow you to edit, enable or disable cookies on all websites you use.

How Do I Enable/Delete Cookies on Websites

Image source – palcs.org

No matter which web browser you are using for your everyday work, cookies are present in all of them. You can visit the main developer sites to enable them or delete cookies, as per your wish.

The settings are simple and easily found on Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Apple Safari.

Is It Necessary To Accept Cookies on Websites?

When you enter a website, a message or warning is displayed on either the top or bottom of the screen. But that message is ignored and not read fully to understand.

That message asks you for your consent about cookies, most times saying that a certain website uses cookies to enhance your experience and provide safety.

But it is not necessarily important to accept all the cookies during web surfing.

You can decline the cookies anytime if they identify you. Without the user's consent, no website can install cookies through its web server or face severe consequences.

If you don't want cookies to save information about you, you can say no or delete the cookies held by websites by your browser settings.

Are There Laws Regarding Cookies in Websites?

Although cookies are designed to protect a user's online privacy, many people are still afraid to accept and give information about them to a certain website.

A website cannot collect information about you when you don't give consent. This is the reason "The Cookie Law" exists.

Are There Laws Regarding Cookies in Websites?

Image Source – vuescript.com

This law is simply a rule about a user's privacy and consent before agreeing on enabling cookies. It gives users a choice on whether they decide to share their information to a website to store it for future use.

All European Union countries adopted the law in May 2011. The right to refuse the use of cookies was given to every individual.

It was named the "cookie" law even though other technologies such as Flash or HTML 5 Local Storage perform the same function because cookies are the most common method of storing information.

Websites must include a cookie policy on their pages so users can read through all the information that will be stored. In addition to the user's consent, they must tell them the main purpose of cookies and why they exist on their respective pages.

Types of Cookies

Cookies serve as a memory holder so that websites can recognize your online activities. This may sound like a threat to your privacy, but cookies make the internet what it is today. Indirectly, they are responsible for your overall online involvement.

There are plenty of cookies on the internet, but the main types can be divided into three; session cookies, permanent cookies, and third-party cookies.

Types of Cookies

Session Cookies

The type of cookies we have mentioned before are session cookies. They are simple files that help you take action on the web by remembering where you click and what activity you perform.

A small example of session cookies would be e-commerce. Your cart in any online shop contains the stuff you put there no matter how many times you log in or out of the website. These cookies act as the memory holder of the websites.

Permanent Cookies

Permanent cookies, also called first-party cookies, work for the user's preferences and are created by the website itself. They are data files capable of storing user data and information for future visits. They provide a helpful approach to everyday items to a user and enhance their experience on a website.

Persistent cookies are stored inside the hard drive of your PC. The next time you visit a webpage that you have previously visited, the webserver where the cookie came from will be requested.

These cookies are stored inside the hard disk of your PC for a relatively long time. If you personalize the website according to your preferences, these cookies will commemorate and implement the settings on your next visit.

Third-Party Cookies

Third-party cookies are relatively dangerous files created by other websites and not those where users are currently surfing. Third-party cookies are directly linked to ads on different pages. They collect data and use it to track you and send ads based on your online activities.

Using third-party cookies, advertisers determine that you went to an online jeans shop with a flat 25% off and when you visited another clothing shop to see if your favorite merchandise is out or not.

In this way, they track a user's browsing history across the web and put ads related to their interest.

Cookies on Mobiles

There is no exception to the existence of cookies, and they exist on Android along with Apple. Cookies do exist on mobile web browsers as same as they do on PC browsers.

The web pages you visit on your smartphone using different web browsers place cookies in those browsers. These web pages have unique cookies and handle their first-party and third-party cookies separately.

Cookies on Mobiles?

Image source – rd.com

Cookies are fully accessible on the mobile web. They can be enabled, disabled, or deleted using the browser settings. The only restriction to cookies in the mobile web is altered once the mobile device is shut down or restarted.

Cookies on Applications

The widespread cookie usage also exists on installed applications.

All the cookies used by applications are unique, i.e., cookies from one app cannot be shared with any other app, and they remain confidential to each application.

Every application has its cookie policy, just as every website does.

Cookies on Applications

Image source – gadgethacks.com

Tracking user activity is relatively difficult on installed mobile applications. Web activity is 86% on installed mobile applications and only 14% on mobile web browsers. Mobile advertising is still at its inception and is being experienced.

Many techniques are being thought upon to make the cookies in installed applications more efficient and reliable.

The procedure might be delayed, but a substitute for cookies in mobile devices will come into the scene soon.

Facebook

Facebook has its cookie policy that states the use of session cookies and permanent cookies.

They personalize the content of Facebook according to the preferences of a user, measure ads, and help enhance the experience of the application.

The Facebook cookie policy can be read in-depth at their application.

Instagram

Instagram delivers its services with the use of cookies as well. Because now, Instagram is also under Facebook, it has similar reasons for using cookies.

You can also control your cookies on Instagram and set your preferences of posts and ads to a specific genre. Instagram also has cookie policies.

Twitter

Twitter uses cookies to enhance its functionality and let you keep your preferences. It also uses cookies for advertising and marketing.

Twitter uses pixels to keep track of the posts and email content you've interacted with. You can always delete or edit your cookies by reading Twitter's cookie policy.

Snapchat

Snapchat's cookie policy states that it uses cookies to protect the data and account of their users.

It also uses third-party cookies to count the visitors on a page, give a more satisfying experience and monitor the involvement of users with web content.

Do Cookies Pose A Threat To Your Privacy?

Do Cookies Pose A Threat To Your Privacy?

Image source – ophtek.com

Cookies do not pose a direct threat to your privacy. They are just text files that are not permanent and can be deleted anytime.

Many users feel insecure giving trivial information to a website because cookies store them and target their ads based on their preferences.

It can be felt that this is an invasion of privacy, but keeping your browser up to date and avoiding unnecessary websites can keep you safe.

Cookies cannot be used as an element to spread viruses. They also cannot read any given information on the hard drive.

Regardless of this, the data will be stored inside the cookie until you delete or edit certain cookies containing important information, such as your credit card credentials.

Remember that a cookie can only store the information that you voluntarily provide yourself. Also, remember to delete your cookies through the browser settings every 7 to 14 days.

In this way, your data won't be kept in there for too long, but yes, you will have to provide your information once you visit the website again.

FAQ

  • What information do cookies hold?

Cookies can store limited information to a large extent of data. Mainly, cookies on the website contain the website's name and an ID for each user. But cookies can include any information from accounts you log into to items you keep in your cart while e-shopping.

The cookies record the amount of time you spend on a web page, options and preferences you choose, and links you search for on a website.

  • Why can cookies be dangerous?

Cookies are not harmful themselves. But the misuse of cookies by hackers to get a user's personal information out can be a security threat.

The actual danger is their skill to track users' web surfing histories. It is very significant to keep your browser up to date and edit the cookies of all websites you use.

  • What are some enforcements and penalties regarding cookies?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was passed in 2016, which stated users' data protection and privacy regarding cookies.

The GDPR fined many of the biggest companies that went against their rules and placed cookies on their web pages without user consent.

The summary of which company and how much fine they had to pay is as follows;


Company
Fine
Amazon
€746 million
WhatsApp
€225 million
Google
€100 million
Vodafone
€12.25 million
H&M
€35.3 million

 
  • Is the data collected by cookies considered personal data?

Every website needs to use the consent of its users to collect the relevant data. It can be said that the data that cookies collect comes under the "personal data" of the user.

Still, the data allows the person to consider all the general rules and regulations regarding e-privacy.

  • Do Wix websites use cookies?

Yes, Wix websites also use cookies, and they use them for the same purposes, i.e., to provide a good experience for the users and monitor their platforms' performance.

Conclusion

Opinions on cookies differ from person to person, but we hope our article helped you understand a little more in-depth about cookies.

Some people enjoy personalizing their websites through cookies; some feel insecure about their privacy and the rest come under people who are just going with the flow.

A legitimate understanding of cookies helps you get a great online experience with your crafts as well.

So, now you've attained a good knowledge of cookies so you can get more familiar with your browser settings. Go ahead, and surf the internet without worrying about your privacy. Just make sure you don't click anywhere and everywhere!

Tags: 
Threats
Author
Hamna Imran
Cyber Security student and keen learner, writing articles for several other websites.

Leave a comment

click to select