- What are cookies?
Cookies are files or pieces of information that may be stored on your computer (or other internet enabled devices, such as a smartphone or tablet) when you visit a website. A cookie will usually contain the name of the website from which the cookie has come from, the “lifetime” of the cookie (i.e. how long it will remain on your device), and a value, which is usually a randomly generated unique number.
- What type of cookies do we use?
Two types of cookies may be used on our website- “session cookies” and “persistent cookies”. Session cookies are temporary cookies that remain on your device until you leave the website. A persistent cookie remains on your device for much longer or until you manually delete it (how long the cookie remains on your device will depend on the duration or “lifetime” of the specific cookie and your browser settings).
- to measure and improve the performance of the site
- for browsing analysis
- for targeting / advertising
- to remember websites you are visiting
- to display relevant advertising material
- Do cookies contain personal data?
Cookies do not typically contain any information that personally identifies a user, but personal information that we store about you may be linked to the information stored in and obtained from cookies. We shall always be transparent with you about what information we collect and it should never be disclosed to any unatuthorized party.
- Deleting cookies
Most internet browsers are initially set up to automatically accept cookies. You can change the settings to block cookies or to alert you when cookies are being sent to your device. There are a number of ways to manage cookies. Please refer to your browser instructions or help screen to learn more about how to adjust or modify your browser settings. If you disable the cookies that we use, this may impact your experience while on our website.
- Why are cookies important on the internet?
Cookies are an essential part of the Internet. Without them, webpages would be a great deal less useful and interactive. Ecommerce would be impossible. They give websites the ability to remember and improve.
The single most important job of a cookie is to keep a user logged in as they browse from page to page. A user’s browsing history becomes part of a database which the website then uses to improve the customer experience.
Ecommerce sites use a combination of session cookies and persistent cookies to create a seamless shopping cart experience. As the user adds items to her cart, session cookies keep track of the items. If the user abandons the cart, persistent cookies will retrieve her selections from the database the next time she visits. She will see her items already in the cart and ready to purchase. This is a huge help in encouraging conversations.
When a user lands on an ecommerce website for the first time, the webpage makes a record of the activity on its remote server and it places a cookie in the user’s browser files. The cookie is only a short line of text. It contains no information about the user or the user’s machine. Instead, it typically contains the URL of the website that placed the cookie, a unique generated number and an expiration date for the cookie.
As the user browses the website, each new page the user visits queries the browser, looking for the cookie. If the cookie’s URL matches the website’s URL, the website retrieves the user information from its server by utilizing the unique generated number. In this way, the website adjusts the user’s experience to reflect her browsing history.
- Personal and data privacy
Cookies are NOT viruses. Cookies use a plain text format. They are not compiled pieces of code so they cannot be executed nor are they self-executing. Accordingly, they cannot make copies of themselves and spread to other networks to execute and replicate again. Since they cannot perform these functions, they fall outside the standard virus definition. Cookies can be used for malicious purposes though. Since they store information about a user’s browsing preferences and history, both on a specific site and browsing among several sites, cookies can be used to act as a form of spyware. Many anti-spyware products are well aware of this problem and routinely flag cookies as candidates for deletion after standard virus and/or spyware scans. Most browsers have built in privacy settings that provide differing levels of cookie acceptance, expiration time, and disposal after a user has visited a particular site. Backing up your computer can give you the peace of mind that your files are safe.
Since identity protection is highly valued and is every internet users right, it pays to be aware of what threat cookies can pose. As cookies are transmitted back and forth between a browser and website, if an attacker or unauthorized person gets in between the data transmission, the sensitive cookie information can be intercepted. Although relatively rare, this can happen if the browser is connecting to the server using an unencrypted network like an non-secured WiFi channel.Internet security is only attainable if you regualrly use a anti-virus protection programme.See our anti virus protection section.
Other cookie-based attacks involve exploiting faulty cookie-setting systems on servers. If a website doesn’t require browsers to use encrypted channels only, attackers can use this vulnerability to trick browsers into sending sensitive information over insecure channels. The attackers then siphon off the sensitive data for unauthorized access purposes.
Key tips for safe and responsible cookie-based Web browsing:
Customize your browser’s cookie settings to reflect your comfort level with cookie security or use our guide to delete cookies. If you are very comfortable with cookies and you are the only person using your computer, you may want to set long expiration time frames for storing your personal access information and browsing history. If you share access on your computer, you may want to set your browser to clear private browsing data every time you close your browser. While not as secure as rejecting cookies outright, this option lets you access cookie-based websites while deleting any sensitive information after your browsing session.
Make sure your browser is updated: If you haven’t already, set your browser to update automatically. This eliminates security vulnerabilities caused by outdated browsers. Many cookie-based exploits are based on exploiting older browsers’ security shortcomings.
Cookies are everywhere and can’t really be avoided if you wish to enjoy the biggest and best websites out there. With a clear understanding of how they operate and how they help your browsing experience, you can take the necessary security measures to ensure that you browse the Net confidently. Different browsers offer differing ways to configure your browser’s cookie settings. Due to the wide range of differences among differing websites’ privacy policies, many browsers allow for universal privacy settings which users can choose from. There are a number of ways to manage cookies.You can clear cookies, prevent cookies, delete cookies and enable cookies at your will and for differernt circumstances.
There is no one standardized way to remove cookies since different browsers clear cookies using different procedures. This page helps you manage cookies by instructing you on how to remove cookies on the Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Internet Explorer browsers. Since the vast majority of Internet users access the Web using these five browsers, we’ll focus on them. Click on the link for your browser below to get information on how to prevent or clear cookies from being created on your particular browser.
Internet Explorer 3.0
Internet Explorer 4.0
Internet Explorer 5.0+
Internet Explorer (IE) 7.0+
Internet Explorer (IE) 8.0+
Internet Explorer (IE) 9.0+
Internet Explorer (IE) 11.0+
Firefox 2.0+ / 3.0+ / 4.0+/8.0+