cookiesLet’s talk about cookies. Those warm, gooey little treats are so delicious . . . wait, not those cookies. Let’s talk about Internet cookies.

Let’s start with the basics…

What are Internet cookies – Cookies are small bits of text downloaded to your browser when surfing the web.  They carry bits of useful information about your interaction with websites.  Cookies do not carry software programs, so they can’t install anything on your computer.

Cookies generally do not contain any information that will identify a person.  Usually they contain a string of text or “unique identifier”.  This acts as a label.  When a website identifies a string of text that is in a cookie, it knows the browser is one it has seen before.

What are cookies used for:

  • Remember your preferences on a website
  • Understand how you and other users are using the website
  • Logging into a service or to make sure you are logged in securely

How to control cookies – Set your browser to delete cookies every time you finish browsing.  You can block cookies from certain websites or block all of them so that cookies are not stored on your computer.  Note that blocking all cookies may prevent you from entering a lot of sites.  Setting privacy levels to High and Medium High may be advisable.

Types of Cookies

  • Session – A cookie that is erased when exiting the browser.  Session cookies do not collect information from your computer.
  • Persistent – Also known as a permanent cookie that is stored on your hard drive until the expiration date.
  • Malicious – Cookies that watch your on line activity.  They track your surfing habits over time to build a profile of your interests.  Once that profile contains enough information there is a good chance that your information will be sold to an advertising company.

First and Third Party Cookies

  • First Party – Cookies that originate from (or are sent to) the website you are currently viewing.
  • Third Party – Cookies that originate from (or are be sent to) a website that is not the site you are visiting.  For example, if the website you are on uses third party advertising, those websites may use a cookie to track your web habits for marketing purposes.


I hope that you found this information helpful.  Please feel free to forward to others.  If you would like to learn more on this topic or would like to request another topic for the future please contact me. If you missed any past newsletters or would a printed copy, visit my website


Until next time…Happy Computing!!!

About Michael DeFlorio
I have worked is various positions as a system administrator, support technician, as a help desk support, and as an IT consultant in a corporate environment. I currently run a small business where I provide computer services such as hardware configuration, installation, for residential and for medium and small businesses. You can contact me by email or visit my website at

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