Online Safety

What is a cookie?

Man outside with laptopCookies are pieces of data that enable websites to remember the user who is visiting the website in order to show the appropriate content.

Cookies are also used to remember the "signed on" status of users.

Most browsers prompt users to decide whether to accept cookies, and cookies can be deleted, but rejecting cookies makes using some websites more difficult.

For example, some e-commerce sites or websites requiring login details will not work if cookies are disabled.

Allowing users to log in to a website is another use of cookies. Users typically log in by inserting their credentials into a login page; cookies allow the server to know that the user is already authenticated, and therefore is allowed to access services or perform operations that are restricted to a user who is not logged in.

Cookies are not spyware, but cookies from certain sites are identified as spyware by some anti-spyware products because they can allow users to be tracked when they visit various sites.