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  • Writer's pictureMohammed Fadlalla

Cookies, Data Privacy, & Cybersecurity: What's the Connection?

With digitalization and the increase in cyber-crimes, people are taking every precaution to ensure that their private and personal data does not fall into the wrong hands while using the internet. The measures taken to protect computers, phones, servers, data, electronic systems, and networks are often referred to as "cybersecurity."

Any of us might have seen a warning window or other notification about cookies at some point. Some websites even allow you to accept cookies only in certain circumstances. Therefore, the most fundamental issue is whether or not cookies should be enabled. Before we get to it, however, we must first define What is a cookie.? What are the different types of cookies? And what are the functions of cookies? Below, we'll examine the deeper relationship between cookies and online safety.

What is a Cookie?

A cookie is a text file stored on a client machine that may later be retrieved by a web server. Cookies, allows web servers to keep track of user’s browser activities and connect individual web requests into a session. A fundamental function of a cookie is to keep track of your login credential details so that you don't have to fill them in each time you visit the site.

When you visit a website that employs cookies, you could be asked to provide personal information such as your name, email address, and areas of interest. A cookie is sent to your browser with this data stored on your computer. The next time you return to the same website, the cookie will be sent to the server from your browser to avoid repetition.

This message with your information will be sent back to the server whenever the browser requests a page from the server. The hosted website you are seeing uses a browser cookie file on your hard drive to keep track of who you are and what you like in order to circumvent the fact that web servers do not have memory. As a consequence of these messages, the server may provide you with more relevant content on the World Wide Web with a customized welcome page rather than the standard one and search results per your preferences.

After reading the above paragraph, you may wonder what is the difference between cookies and cache. The primary disparity between the two is that caches stand for the data stored online to speed up the search and website accessing process. However, on the other hand, cookies stand for the data, including your personal information and the activities you do on a website, to provide a custom experience on the content front that you might prefer.

Cookies are frequently considered as detrimental because they are speculated as among the fundamental reasons for adversarial cyber-crimes and for obtaining personal data. Hiding your IP addresses with the use of a VPN can be one of the safest and most valuable ways to be preventative and safeguard your personal data.

What are the Functions of Cookies?

Cookies are functional because they improve the usability of websites and apps, and the reason for this is

that there are many ways in which both users and site owners may profit from using this technology. Below are some functions of cookies:

Save login credentials: Fundamental functions of cookies involves saving and storing user login information. This function helps to provide a custom and improved user experience. Cookies also help eliminate the repetition of filling in usernames and passwords again on the website.

Providing personalized content: Cookies are a kind of technology used on the site that helps provide relevant content material and references to visitors per their preferences. For instance, cookies might keep track of the kind of media you often consume and then propose more of the same. The goal is to boost your satisfaction and interest in using the site by keeping you engaged with relevant content.

Remembering the website's preference settings: Cookies are designed in such a way as to remember your preference settings after being modified by the user as per their preferences. This helps when the user re-visits the website, these pre-saved settings are automatically implemented to provide the user with a seamless and enjoyable experience.

Enable target marketing: Using cookie-based technology may help site owners meet their advertising goals. Cookies are used by the vast majority of businesses, especially E-commerce site owners, to serve their consumers better.

They gather data, including search phrases, keywords, and locations for use in advertising. In truth, Facebook and other social networking sites utilize cookies to tailor relevant advertisements to each user.

What are the Types of Cookies

Cookies are of three types that are now in widespread usage. What follows is a list of cookies:

Session Cookies: The first type of cookie is a session cookie which gets permanently destroyed once the browser is closed. When you use a website, no personal information is gathered via Session Cookies.

Persistent cookies: The second type of cookie is the persistent cookie. Unlike session cookies, persistent cookies remain on your computer's hard drive until you erase them. The information gleaned by persistent cookies may be utilized to further tailor a user's experience on a particular website. The language used, the subject matter explored, and so on are all simple examples.

Third-Party Cookie: The next category in the type of cookies is a third-party cookie placed on a site by a third party for a particular purpose.

These cookies are being generated by a different website than the one you are on. This is often done for marketing reasons. It is okay if you start seeing more and more relevant adverts on search engines and e-commerce sites after enabling these cookies. The biggest security dangers come from third-party cookies. Third-party cookie exploitation is a common cause of many cyber threats, including ransomware.

How Cookies impact on cybersecurity?

Cookies in and of themselves pose no danger to a website's security. Yet, it's crucial to remember that the data contained in cookies may be readily stolen and used maliciously.

Users should include cookie safety and prudence among their top frequent security routines. Always using the most recent browser version is essential, as is the chronic clearing of cookies. The most serious security risk comes from third-party cookies, and thus blocking them is a brilliant idea.

Protect your privacy and browsing experience using a virtual private network (VPN) and clearing your cookies regularly.

Is it safe to accept cookies?

While cookies are a potential security risk, they may be avoided or minimized for the vast majority of online activities. The most dangerous aspects of cookies may be avoided if you take the necessary precautions, which are as follows:

● Always use caution while giving out any personal information. Exercising care is essential since cookies might transmit this kind of knowledge. Furthermore, if you must use a public computer, avoid sending sensitive information through email.

● Disable cookie storage in your browser settings. You may need to adjust specific privacy settings in your browser if you do this, but it decreases the quantity of data sent.

● To protect your privacy online, you may install a plug-in that will block any traces left by websites you visit, including those that use cookies as a tracking mechanism.

● Malware may sneak into advertising networks or disguise itself as innocuous cookies. Therefore, it's essential always to use up-to-date anti-malware software.

● If you are suspicious of a website's legitimacy and it asks you to accept cookies, you should exit the page immediately.

Bottom Line

Cookies themselves are risk-free, but they pose numerous security and privacy concerns. Being there benefits on the one hand and cyber risks on the other. It is advisable to put your data on well-established and modern websites.

Archlight solutions is among the leading cyber security providers in UAE. We provide cyber security, data privacy, and certifications to clients from various verticals. Book an appointment with us to ensure a secure business.


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