Has it ever happened to you that you search for a product on the web?
And, minutes later, you see the same product on other pages?
This is one of the various functionalities offered by Cookies.
Basically, a Cookie is a simple text file that is stored by the computer’s browser.
The function of a Cookie is to store information about the characteristics of the visitor to a certain website and their navigation.
These data can be used when accessing the same website again.
Until a while ago, Cookies could go unnoticed;
But, after some debates on privacy policies, mainly in the European Union, they began to have greater visibility.
Learn more about Cookies, their origin, functions, and types.
What are Cookies?
Cookies were created by Lou Montulli and the origin of the term comes from the Magic Cookie.
An information exchange package that was used by Unix programmers.
The first browser to accept Cookies was Netscape, launched in 1994.
Cookies are defined through the HTTP Header and stored by the visitor’s browser.
On first access, the web server sends the visitor what is to be stored in the Cookie.
From here, each time the user enters the website, the Cookie will be sent to the server and this, in turn,
will deliver the web pages already adapted to better serve the user.
To better understand what Cookies are,
imagine that you entered a website for the first time and chose to view a version in Hindi.
Thanks to Cookies, on the next visits, the website will automatically load in Hindi,
without the need for a new configuration.
They also store some personal data and other information, such as a purchase that you have not completed.
It is the Cookies that keep your session open in your email account,
and other websites that require you to log in.
Another functionality of Cookies is the recording of preferences.
In this way, as we mentioned at the beginning of the article,
you can start to see the same product on different websites.
This type of information, known as remarketing,
is one of the most disputed tools for creating ads and has been causing many discussions about privacy policies.
It is important to remember that if the visitor is browsing with Cookies disabled,
nothing of what we talked about above will happen.
Why has the Function of Cookies been so Questioned?
Actually, although Cookies offer facilities to make browsing more agile, they are also considered somewhat invasive.
Since then, web pages are required to notify users that Cookies store information about their browsing.
This new landscape gave the visitor the power to accept or not use the Cookies of the site they are entering.
Here, it is important to note that Cookies do not steal any of your information.
These simply store what you have made available while browsing the website.
In addition to this, Cookies have a validity date; they remain available for a few hours or even years according to the website.
In most directions, the fact of remaining stored for a long period of time does not represent risks to the user, mainly in relation to the propagation to other environments.
What are the Existing Types of Cookies?
There are 5 main types of Cookies.
1. Session Cookie
It is active while the user browses the website.
When it comes out, the information is deleted.
2. Persistent or Permanent Cookie
These are the Cookies that remain stored even after leaving the website.
The validity time will be that which the programmer believes is necessary.
Remembering that these can be deleted by the visitor at any time they want manually in the browser settings.
3. Third-Party Cookies
They are accessed by third-party domains, such as ad networks.
It is a tracking Cookie that allows knowing all the user’s movements on the web and, unlike the other types, it is not stored on the computer.
This means that it cannot be blocked or excluded.
There are already some laws to prevent its operation, mainly because users did not agree with this miscapture of data.
5. Zombie Cookie
It is a type of Cookie that is activated after being deleted, known as an Evercookie.
In addition to these main types, there are some characteristics that can be defined at the time of its creation, such as:
- Secure Cookie: To guarantee security, it only accepts HTTPS-type connections;
- Same-Site Cookie: Makes servers only accept requests from the same website. This also serves computer security, protecting it from forced requests.
As an Internet user, you should be careful when using shared computers, such as those available in laboratories, universities, or public places.
If you have no other option, it is important to use private browsing mode or exclude Cookies after using the computer.
If you are a developer, keep an eye on the security measures used in your Cookie.
Without protection or without encryption, you allow it to be modified through local scripts, leaving the security of the website and the server at risk.
Has the operation of Cookies become a little clearer to you?
Thanks for Reading.