What are cookies and are they harmful?
What is a cookie
Apart from the ones you dip in your cup of Tea, cookies are just one or more piece of information stored as text strings on your computer. A Web server sends you a cookie and the browser then stores it. The browser then returns the cookie to the server the next time the page is referenced. The most common use of a cookie is to store a user ID. For example, the cookie might contain the following string: ID=97392399
Ebuyer is just one of the many sites that use this technique. When you order an item from them you are asked to fill out a form with your name and address. When you do this Ebuyer assigns you an ID and stores your information with that particular ID in its database on the server. It then sends the ID to your browser as a cookie and your browser stores the ID on your hard disk. The next time you go to Ebuyer the ID is sent back to the server and the server looks you up by your individual ID and customizes the Web page it sends back to you. The page might say, "Welcome back, Katie Jones!
Are they safe
Yes, cookies are accepted as being safe and browsing the internet is often improved with cookies enabled as websites you visit regularly will remember you and some of your information. This saves you having to input the same info over again each time you visit them.
Cookies Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are cookies common practice?
A: Yes. There are over 350 separate cookies on my personal computer’s hard drive right now.
Q: Can a virus be transmitted by a cookie?
A: No they can not as are just a text string.
Q: Can a company read the personal information I have already stored on my computer’s hard drive using a cookie?
A: Only the cookie that is sent in the first place is returned to the server. It is not modified or manipulated in any way so no they cannot obtain any other personal information from your computer.