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What are cookies

Cookies (from the English cookie – cookies) – a small piece of data sent by a web server and stored on the user’s computer. The web client (usually a web browser) sends this piece of data to the web server as part of an HTTP request whenever it tries to open a page on the corresponding site. It is used to save data on the user side, in practice it is usually used for:

user authentication;
storing personal preferences and user settings;
tracking the state of the user’s access session;
keeping statistics about users.

Acceptance of cookies by browsers is required by many sites with access restrictions, most online stores. Customizing the design and behavior of many websites to individual user preferences is also based on cookies. Cookies are easy to intercept and spoof (for example, to gain access to an account) if the user uses an unencrypted connection to the server.

At risk are users who access the Internet using public Wi-Fi access points and do not use mechanisms such as SSL. Encryption also solves other problems related to the security of transmitted data.

There are also a number of misconceptions about cookies. They are mainly based on people’s belief that cookies are computer programs. In fact, cookies are simple text data, a set of characters, transmitted when making requests to a website, and they cannot perform any actions on their own.

In particular, cookies cannot be viruses or spyware. Thus, cookies can only be dangerous in terms of deanonymization and tracking user actions. Most modern browsers allow users to choose whether or not to accept cookies, but turning them off makes some websites unusable. In addition, the need to frequently enter a login and password makes working with sites less convenient.

Why cookies are needed

Cookies are used by web servers to distinguish between users and store data about them.

For example, if the site is logged in using cookies, then after the user enters his data on the login page, cookies allow the server to remember that the user has already been identified and is allowed to access the corresponding services and operations.

Many sites also use cookies to store user preferences. These settings can be used for personalization, which includes choice of appearance and functionality. For example, Wikipedia allows authorized users to choose the design of the site. The Google search engine allows users (including those who are not registered with it) to choose the number of search results displayed on one page.

Cookies are also used to track user activity on the site. As a rule, this is done for the purpose of collecting statistics, and advertising companies form anonymous user profiles based on such statistics in order to more accurately target advertising.

The Buckshee Site Administration