What Are Internet Cookies And Their Role In Our Computers

Umair Shaikh | Sunday, December 30, 2012 | | |




 
Cookies
 
We saw how junk files are created in your computer, what's the difference between Temporary Files and Temporary Internet Files, and discussed the Good and Bad side of Cache files. Now we will talk about another type of Junk File, which is Internet Cookies.Who don’t like cookies, atleast i love chocolate cookies :) but we are not doing any baking business over here.

Internet Cookies does makes users life easier on Internet and now a days, almost every website use this feature in order to provide better user experience.

So What These Internet Cookies Really Are?

Whenever you are connected to the Internet and doing browsing, almost all the websites generate a text file and save it in your hard disk. That text file contains user information which that particular website use it for the information purpose. Let’s say if you visit the same website again, that website will search for that particular text file in your Hard disk and will automatically recall all of your details. That text file is a Cookie file. The websites can only retrieve their cookie files, they cannot open other cookie files or cannot do any other stuff in your computer.

Cookies contains a unique visitor ID for you (websites keep all the information related to that user in the cookies like the web pages you visited, links clicked etc) so whenever you return to that website again, it checks your ID and this is how it remember all of your details. Cookies are not a software, which will be downloaded by a website and your user information will be forwarded to them. No, this is not the case. Cookies are not a self executed files.

Many people also thinks that cookies are viruses, which is not true. As I said above that these are just a text files and they cannot do anything by itself.

How This Process Actually Works?
Footsteps
1. If you type any website address in your browser’s address bar, your browser will contact the main server of that website (where it’s published / hosted).

2. After a successful connection, the main server will look for a cookie file in your computer and if you have that file, then your browser will send the details which are inside cookie file to the main server
 
3. Incase you don’t have a cookies file, the main server will treat you as a new user and will then generate a unique id for you and keep a record of that cookies in its database. Same details will be forwarded to your browser as well, which then creates a cookie file in your computer.
 
Why Websites Need Cookie Files?

Now a days, each and every website is dynamic. There are really very interactive websites which requires to keep users information or keep a track of their visitors in their record for many reasons.
 
For example
1. How many visitors came today
2. How many are new visitors
3. How many times a visitor has visited to the site
4. Keeps the user preferences
 
Let’s say, if you go to Gmail sign-in page and If you click the check mark of Remember Me, then the website will keep a record of your user name and password in their database and in the cookie file saved in your hard disk.
 
Behind The Scenes (Warning)
 
 
  • If you are using multiple browsers, then your cookies will not be synchronized between the browsers. Means the websites will save different version of cookies for each browser and will treat you as a different user for each browser. The location where the cookies are stored in your computer is also different for each browser.
  • Because of these files, information which belongs to you will be disclosed to others. For example, if you are using a public computer like at Internet Cafe, and if the website saves your email address or password then there will be a problem. This thing often happens because by default if that remember me is already checked (as i said above), then all of your personal information is leaked and will be accessed by others. 
  • If your network connection is not secured (wireless or the website which you are browsing is not a secured website) bad users or hackers can read the data which is passing through on the internet or on the network, including the cookies, using programs called packet sniffers. 
  • The cookie file is not only generated by the website page, but links, images and advertisement banners also generates cookie files. These banners or advertisements not only keep the records of you but also tracks you or should i say act like a spy. And these cookies which are generated by the advertisements keep a record like which websites you are visiting, which links you are clicking and then sell such information to the Marketers. These are called bad cookies or malicious cookies
  • Your computer has to look for the cookies every time you visit a webpage and this can slow down your computer and the speed of your Internet. 
  • As i told you above that cookies should be open by only those websites which have made that file. However, some bad / malicious wewebsites often modify the contents of cookies in order to send same information to the other websites as well.
Last Words
 
Hope this detailed article has cleared all of your concepts and will help you in order to keep your computer clean with this type of junk. In next post, we will see how to clean these junk files from our computers. So stay tuned and don't forget to leave your comments / feedback below.
 




13 comments:

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  1. Cookies are the most important part of internet and really every net-user need them.


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    1. Most Important part of Internet ? Why is that so? Will i compromise anything if i delete them?

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  2. Very good explanation for those who are not computer specialists.

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