What are Cookies?

When someone mentions “cookies,” you probably think of the tasty baked treats. When it comes to technology, however, cookies have a different meaning. Computer cookies are instrumental in streamlining how we browse the internet.

Cookies are defined as small pieces of data sent from a website and stored on a user’s computer by the user’s web browser during an internet browsing session. Understanding how cookies work will give you a better perspective into their role in internet browsing.

Computer cookies work behind the scenes to help websites keep track of your browsing activity, visits, and behaviors. Cookies are helpful in keeping track of the items in a user’s shopping cart so that the cart does not reset each time the user leaves the site. Users also benefit from cookies when a website stores a user’s login information. This allows users to access frequently visited websites quickly and without having to enter a password every time.

There are different types of cookies that track different information and activities. Session cookies are used when a user is actively navigating a site and then disappear once the user exits the site. Tracking cookies help trace a user’s long-term behavior through multiple visits to the website. Authentication cookies confirm whether a user is logged into a site and, if so, under what name.

Cookies do not affect how your computer runs since the data within a cookie does not change when it travels back and forth. Viruses, malware, and other threats are not passed to computers through cookies under normal circumstances. However, there are some instances where a virus is disguised as a cookie, making them difficult to manage and creating privacy and security risks.

A skilled managed services provider can help your company manage security risks. From data security solutions to web filtering services, AJTC guides businesses through the process of safe internet browsing. Our team of IT experts has thorough knowledge of cookies and their role in the online world. Contact AJTC here or call 708.942.8200 for more information and to learn how to partner with us.

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