What are Internet cookies?
Internet cookies are like fortune cookies because they hold small bits of information inside. They are tiny files of data used to track your online activities and information when you’re browsing a website. That collected data is stored in your browser and is used to customize information, like login credentials, online activity, or purchase history, for when you revisit that page. An example of Internet cookies is when you go to input your credentials into a returning website and they are filled automatically.
How can they be used maliciously?
- Websites can share the information collected from their cookies to third-party applications
- Malware can be disguised as cookies to access and compromise your data
Why are websites asking you to accept cookies?
Websites are asking you to accept cookies because of a data privacy law known as the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The regulation became a model for many other laws across the world.
How to protect yourself from Internet cookies?
Internet cookies are not always easy to completely disable. Some websites even require you to accept them to access their page. But there are things you can do to protect your information from malicious cookies.
- When a website asks you to “accept all cookies” look for an option that says, “accept only necessary cookies” and choose that option instead
- Ensure the websites on which you must accept cookies use an HTTPS domain and include a padlock in front of the URL
- Delete cookies saved in your browser to protect you from unsecured or unknown websites
- Clear your browser cache regularly
Cookies are a part of the Internet and can’t always be escaped. It’s important to watch out for malicious cookies so you can enjoy your online activities. Stay vigilant with your online browsing during the holidays and stay cyber safe!