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What are cookies and how do you avoid their threat to your privacy?

 Cookies are text files that contain packets of information about the websites you've visited, and they help websites recognize your computer so you can serve up content faster.

Cookies also store details, such as your username and password, this way you don't have to re-enter your credentials every time you log in to the site.

Origin of cookies:

Cookies were invented in 1994, to ease the overload of e-commerce stores that were on the Internet at the time.

Nowadays, details such as your shopping cart information are stored in your web browser rather than the store database, so when you navigate away from the page, the items you previously added to your cart will remain.

What are cookies and how do you avoid their threat to your privacy?

Common types of cookies:

  1. Session cookies: These are temporary files that are deleted once your session ends or when you close your browser. They help you navigate the site without tracking your browsing habits.
  2. Persistent cookies: This type of cookie is used for website authentication, and many online merchants also use them in their remarketing practices, serving you targeted ads or suggesting items in their stores. Persistent cookies are also stored on your computer your account until it expires or you delete it.
  3. Secure cookies: Secure cookies cannot be used by malware, as they are usually written in scripting languages ​​such as JavaScript.
  4. Third-Party Cookies: Pages containing advertisements may create cookies that grant access to third parties, even if you do not click on any of the ads, and advertisers can use them to track your browsing history.
It should be noted here that the latter type is cause for concern, as it tracks and stores data without your explicit permission or knowledge.

Companies use cookies to:

  • Improving the on-site experience, by recognizing users and remembering their login information and preferences.
  • Personalize and target ads based on browsing history, and boost sales by tracking previously viewed items, shopping preferences, engagement, and behavior on the site.

The dangers of cookies:

Some cookies may be necessary for the basic functionality of a website, but most are used for statistical and marketing purposes and for collecting personal data, such as user behavior and search history.

This data is often shared with third parties such as technology companies, social networks, media platforms, and data brokers.

So, while cookies help your site to operate and give you insight into its performance and conversions, they also pose some risk to your business.

As an Internet user, here are the main risks of cookies:

  • Privacy Violation: For most Internet users, privacy is their primary concern, and when it comes to cookies on the Internet, important search engines and other advertising systems track users and use this information to serve ads, and of course many users feel that this is a blatant violation of privacy.
  • Use of Fraudulent Cookies: Cookies are used either to falsify the identity of legitimate users, or to use their identity to perform malicious acts.

To avoid fraud, it is important to keep your browser up to date, as many cookie scams are designed to take advantage of security holes in older browsers.

It is also important to avoid questionable sites, and to be alert if your browser warns you that a site may be malicious.

How can cookies be turned off ?

What pop-ups usually do is tell you that the page you're visiting is using cookies to give you a better experience. However, at this point you may have stopped reading and pressed the accept button, and so did exactly what the website wanted you to do, i.e. agreed to be tracked.

However, there are ways to refuse cookies and prevent those pop-ups from appearing at all.

A new method called Never-Consent from Ghostery, which specializes in privacy-focused web tools, has been announced.

Never Concent will automatically block pop-ups and reject cookies, all you have to do is install the extension and it will do the work for you.

It should be noted here that browser extensions and the companies that manufacture them can also track you, so be careful who you trust.

If you don't want to bother searching for and installing browser extensions, there are a few other ways you can try to do something similar to Never Concent, where you can use a browser that blocks cookies by default, and almost all browsers do that except for Chrome though it's the most Fame.

There is also a Global Privacy Control service that automatically tells websites not to sell or share user data, but this is not available in all browsers, especially Chrome and safari.

Don't think that the days of annoying or tracking popups are gone forever, as companies are using them more and more to encourage you to sign up for newsletters and marketing emails for advertising and marketing purposes.

This is their way of collecting data about you, and now that cookies are on the way out as we've seen, companies are always looking for effective alternatives to carry out their agendas in their best interests, and will likely devise a new way to track you and profit from you if their current method is blocked.


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