Cookies are small text files on our computers that store information about our previous activities on the sites. In addition to logging into accounts, they can remember user preferences such as language, currency, or font size; products that we have viewed or added to the cart; text that we entered on the site earlier; our IP address and location; date and time of visiting the site; OS and browser version; clicks and transitions.
When we perform some action on the website, for example, add a product to the cart or enter the details of logging into an account, the server records this information in cookies and sends it to the browser along with the page. When we go to another page of the site or visit it after a while, the browser sends the cookie back.
Cookies can be temporary and permanent. Permanent cookies remain on the computer when we close the website tab, and temporary ones get deleted. Which cookies to use on a particular site – temporary or permanent – is determined by the website developer. That is why on some sites we do not log out of accounts, even when we go back a few days later, while on others we enter the password again and again although we have left the computer for five minutes.
Cookies themselves are not dangerous – they are plain text files. They cannot start processes on the computer themselves, nor generally interact with the operating system. But they can be attempted to be intercepted or stolen in order to track your previous activities on the network or log into your accounts without authorization.
Disabling cookies is not always a good idea. For example, all online stores operate by using cookies. If you prevent the browser from using them, the server will not be able to remember what exactly you added to the basket. Clearing cookies manually is more practical, but you will have to re-configure the appearance of the site and log into accounts each time.
But cookies accumulate over time and can take up gigabytes of space on your hard drive. Therefore, once every few months it is useful to delete cookies, at least for those sites that you visit rarely.
Click the three dots icon in the upper right corner of your browser and go to ‘Settings’. Scroll down, click ‘Advanced’ and click ‘Site Settings’ under the ‘Privacy & Security’ section. In the next window, select ‘Cookies’ – ‘All cookies and site data’ – delete everything.
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