A cookie is a small file which asks permission to be placed onto your computer's hard drive. Once you agree, the file is added and the cookie helps examine web traffic or lets you know when you visit a particular site.
Essentially, cookies allow web applications to respond to you as an individual. The web application can tailor its operations to your needs, likes and dislikes by gathering and remembering information about your preferences.
Overall, cookies help us provide you with a better website, by enabling us to monitor which pages you find useful and which you do not. A cookie does NOT give us access to your computer or any information about you, other than the data you choose to share with us.
You can choose to accept or decline cookies. Although most web browsers automatically accept cookies, you can usually modify your browser setting to decline cookies to your prefernce. However, this may prevent you from taking full advantage of our website.
Remember: The only way a website's cookie can carry your personal information, is if that information is input into a form somewhere on the website. If you have entered your personal data into a form already, then there is a good chance that the (encrypted) data will be passing and updating from web server to browser and back again; and you have to trust that their server wont be breached.
Of course, there is a small risk with every action of divulging personal information… We know that the (ever increasing) importance of the online world(s) demands our inclusion. We all have a vested interest with the web. But already, there is a vast body of data about ourselves out there. Are we certain that all of that is safe?
A cookie, also known as an HTTP cookie, web cookie, or browser cookie, is a small piece of data sent from a website and stored in a user's web browser while the user is browsing that website. Every time the user loads the website, the browser sends the cookie back to the server to notify the website of the user's previous activity. Cookies were designed to be a reliable mechanism for websites to remember stateful information (such as items in a shopping cart) or to record the user's browsing activity (including clicking particular buttons, logging in, or recording which pages were visited by the user as far back as months or years ago).
Although cookies cannot carry viruses, and cannot install malware on the host computer, tracking cookies and especially third-party tracking cookies are commonly used as ways to compile long-term records of individuals' browsing histories—a potential privacy concern that prompted European and US law makers to take action in 2011. Cookies can also store passwords and form content a user has previously entered, such as a credit card number or an address. When a user accesses a website with a cookie function for the first time, a cookie is sent from server to the browser and stored with the browser in the local computer. Later when that user goes back to the same website, the website will recognize the user because of the stored cookie with the user's information.