Does this message look familiar?

cookie pop up image

Many of us come across messages like this regularly. Most people hit the “accept” button without consciously thinking about it. 

But what exactly is a cookie? A cookie is created when you first visit a website. When you return to the site, the cookie reminds the website that you have visited before. The cookie may include details such as pages you’ve visited on the site, website activity, number of times you’ve visited the site, language preferences, the IP address of your device, and your login information. Cookies are an important component that can tailor unique browsing experiences at an individual level.

The data obtained from cookies allow websites to offer a personalized experience through saved logins and authentication, language settings, an enhanced online shopping experience, ad management, and more. In simple terms, cookies allow your login information to be saved and are fundamental in helping websites tailor products, ads, and content to you specifically.

Get a Taste for the Different Kinds of Cookies

But just like chocolate chip cookies and those sweet supermarket sugar cookies, not all cookies are created equal. The management consulting pros at netlogx are here to ensure you know the basics on cookies and how they’re used. Learn more about the different types:

  • First-Party Cookie: When a user first visits a website, the first-party cookie is transmitted to your device by the publisher or website owner. An example of a first-party cookie would be an airline website collecting your language and airport preferences to provide a more specific and personalized experience. Using netlogx’ free cybersecurity resources, you can use first-party cookies to your advantage. 
  • Third-Party Cookie: Third-party cookies are where targeted advertising comes into the picture. Advertisers can use these to track a user across devices, building a profile so content can be targeted based on individual users and their specific interests. Third-party cookies are typically the reason you see advertisements for products you’ve recently researched or looked up.
  • Session Cookie: Session cookies are temporarily stored in the browser’s memory and link a user’s actions to the browser’s temporary memory. Once the user closes the browser, the cookies disappear. Session cookies are used for website logins and storing an individual’s login credentials every time they visit a site. Websites use session cookies for site functions like ensuring faster page loads.
  • Persistent Cookie: A persistent cookie stays on your computer longer than other cookies. They are usually created with an expiration date. They are most commonly used for web analytics. You can check for a persistent cookie by logging in to a website, then restarting your computer and returning to the same website. If you’re still logged in, the site is likely using a persistent cookie to remember you.
  • Secure Cookie: A secure cookie is a safe way to store information. These are only transmitted with encryption through HTTPS. Often these kinds of cookies can be found on checkout pages when buying items online. Sites that save credit card information also typically use secure cookies. Implementing cybersecurity training at your office is a great way to ensure you’re using secure cookies properly and you’re only checking out on websites that have them as well. 

Are Cookies Dangerous?

The short answer is, “no,” cookies are not inherently dangerous. Cookies don’t save personal information such as your email address or phone number. But because cookies allow third-party sites to track you across the web, there can be a downside to cookies as some people find targeted advertising intrusive. If you’re uncomfortable with cookies, most browsers allow users to delete them. You can delete individual cookies, remove all of them, or change browser settings to allow or block different types of cookies based on your personal preference.

Explore Cybersecurity with netlogx

If all of this seems more confusing than an elaborate gingerbread cookie recipe, allow netlogx to help. Our consultants can help you further explore the ins and outs of cookies and implement cybersecurity vulnerability scanning. These processes allow you to weed out security threats before they become a real issue. Beyond cybersecurity training, we’re a one-stop shop for all kinds of management consulting services. Whatever your organization needs to succeed, trust us to help navigate change.