Computer cookies are small amounts of data that a website sends to a user’s computer after accessing that website. The computer stores a cookie and sends it back to the website when the user visits it again in the future. A cookie provides information on the user’s previous activity on the website, also known as the website’s state for that user. Browsers allow the user to enable and disable cookies, depending on the user’s preferences.
Various types of cookies exist, depending on their specific function. Web servers often use authentication cookies, which tell the website when a user is logged into the website. These cookies allow the website to send sensitive information to users without requiring them to log in again. The level of security that authentication cookies provide depends on factors such as the website, browser and encryption of the cookie.
Websites may also use tracking cookies to track a user’s browsing history over a long period of time. Third-party tracking cookies are set when the browser retrieves components that are stored on servers other than the primary web server. Tracking cookies represent a major privacy concern since they often store sensitive information such as passwords, addresses, and credit card numbers. Lawmakers in Europe and the United States both began regulating the use of tracking cookies in 2011. These laws generally restrict the circumstances under which a website may use tracking cookies.
To disable your cookies, We suggest consulting the Help section of your browser or taking a look at the About Cookies website which offers guidance for all modern browsers.