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Chances are, you just click, don’t bother reading the policy and just continue browsing the web because who has time for that? But cookies allow websites to track your movements, and it’s understandable that you don’t agree with that – or even really aware of what’s really going on.
Everyone has cookies, but not everyone knows how to delete cookies from your computer, or even why that is important. A quick and easy way to delete cookies that follow you online is to download software like McAfee Multi Access, which removes cookies and temporary files from your computer for you. The software also blocks virus, malware, spyware and ransomware attacks.
To try McAfee Multi-Access for 30 days free. After that, it’s $ 9.99 per month.
But what exactly are cookies and why is deleting them important in some cases? Cyber security experts break it down.
What are cookies again?
Joseph Steinberg, cybersecurity and emerging technologies advisor, told Yahoo Life that “cookies refer to one or more small pieces of data” that identify your computer on this website with a unique code. Cookies are sent by a web server to your device while you are on that server’s website.
Your computer stores this cookie, and when you visit this website again, “the server may recognize that the device is the same one used previously,” says Steinberg.
Cookies are “widely used by marketing companies that can target your interests and shopping habits,” Chuck Brooks, technology and cybersecurity expert, president of Brooks Consulting International, told Yahoo Life. Cookies are the reason you might consider a new pair of sandals on one website and then see ads for that same pair of sandals when you are on other websites.
Why are you asked if a website can provide you with cookies?
Your so-called “cookie persona” can be shared or sold to businesses, Brooks says. A European data protection and privacy law called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) “has recognized this as a threat to consumer privacy,” Brooks said. As a result, he adds, “this is one of the reasons why many sites ask for permission to track your personal data.”
Are cookies good or bad?
They can be both. “Cookies can be extremely useful – and many common activities would be difficult without them,” says Steinberg. “Authentication cookies, for example, allow a user who logs into a website to click and view multiple pages of the site without having to re-authenticate each time they try to access another. page requiring authentication. “
Cookies are generally divided into two groups:
Session cookies, which expire immediately after you are finished being online
Persistent cookies, which accompany you during many different web sessions
“Cookies can also allow a site to remember a user’s username – without authenticating the user – or other personalization preferences,” says Steinberg.
But cookies aren’t always great. One thing to consider is privacy concerns. “It’s best to know who is tracking your activities, and you should examine and clean up any cookies that may be unwanted,” suggests Brooks.
Steinberg says, “One of the problems with cookies is that many sites now use third-party cookies. Many sites, for example, may feature banner ads from the same advertising provider, and code from that provider may send and receive cookies to run on all of those sites, allowing it to track your activity across multiple sites. “
How to delete cookies
How often you need to delete your cookies and which ones to delete depends on the device you are using. “If you are using a work appliance, I recommend using clean blankets,” Brooks says. This means that you need to get rid of all your cookies on a regular basis.
“On personal devices, I would review cookies often and delete the ones you don’t want to track all the time,” says Brooks.
Each web browser is slightly different, but in Chrome for example, here are the steps to delete cookies:
Click on the three dotted lines in the upper right corner (the Tools menu)
Check “erase browsing data” and set the range to “all times” or to a specific period (if you know you don’t want to get rid of cookies older than a certain date)
Check “cookies and other site data” and “delete data”
Exit the browser to save your changes
Don’t feel like doing it regularly? Software like McAfee Multi Access can take care of that for you, removing the cookies you don’t want while keeping the ones you want.
Cookies aren’t inherently bad, Steinberg stresses, but what companies do with the information they collect can in some cases be.