WHAT IS A COOKIE?

  • A small file or part of a file stored on a World Wide Web user’s computer, created and subsequently read by a website server, and containing personal information (such as a user identification code, customized preferences, or a record of pages visited) .

 

Types of Cookies

session cookie
Also called a transient cookie, a cookie that is erased when you close the Web browser. The session cookie is stored in temporary memory and is not retained after the browser is closed. Session cookies do not collect information from your computer. They typically will store information in the form of a session identification that does not personally identify the user.

persistent cookie
Also called a permanent cookie, or a stored cookie, a cookie that is stored on your hard drive until it expires (persistent cookies are set with expiration dates) or until you delete the cookie. Persistent cookies are used to collect identifying information about the user, such as Web surfing behavior or user preferences for a specific Web site.

 

What Information Does a Cookie Store?

For the most part a cookie will contain a string of text that contains information about the browser. To work, a cookie does not need to know where you are from, it only needs to remember your browser. Some Web sites do use cookies to store more personal information about you. However, this can be done only if you yourself have provided the Web site with that personal information. Legitimate Web sites will encrypt this personal information stored in the cookie to prevent unauthorized usage by another party with access to your cookie folder.

Cookies have six parameters that can be passed to them:

  • The name of the cookie.
  • The value of the cookie.
  • The expiration date of the cookie – this determines how long the cookie will remain active in your browser.
  • The path the cookie is valid for – this sets the URL path the cookie us valid in. Web pages outside of that path cannot use the cookie.
  • The domain the cookie is valid for. This makes the cookie accessible to pages on any of the servers when a site uses multiple servers in a domain.
  • The need for a secure connection – this indicates that the cookie can only be used under a secure server condition, such as a site using SSL

 

First and Third-Party Cookies

When choosing a privacy setting in your browser, two terms you will see are “first-party cookies” and “third-party cookies”. First party cookies are those cookies that originate from (or be sent to) the Web site you’re currently viewing. These types of cookies usually will contain information about your preferences for that particular Web site. These cookies are usually Third-party cookies originate from (or will be sent to) a Web site that is not the site you are visiting. For example, if the Web site you are on using third-party advertising those third-party advertising Web sites may use a cookie to track your Web habits for marketing purposes.

While some may simply choose to block all cookies, it can make Web surfing difficult if you do this. For example if you shop online, many e-commerce shopping carts that have been implemented with cookies will not work. Sites you frequently visit which enable you to personalize content also will not show your preferences when you visit if you delete or disable that cookie.

Most cookies, despite some misconceptions, are legitimate files and will not invade your privacy. Once you get in the habit of reviewing the cookies associated with your browser and manage them on your own by way of deleting malicious cookies or trying different browser privacy settings, you can still keep the good cookies that make surfing a breeze, yet keep the bad cookies that may be tracking your surfing habits off your system.

Did You Know…
The name cookie derives from UNIX objects called magic cookies. These are tokens that are attached to a user or program and change depending on the areas entered by the user or program.

Key Terms To Understanding Cookies:cookie
A message given to a Web browser by a Web server. The browser stores the message in a text file. The message is then sent back to the server each time the browser requests a page from the server. session cookie
Also called a transient cookie, a cookie that is erased when you close the Web browser. The session cookie is stored in temporary memory and is not retained after the browser is closed. persistent cookie
Also called a permanent cookie, or a stored cookie, a cookie that is stored on your hard drive until it expires (persistent cookies are set with expiration dates) or until the user deletes the cookie.Web server
A computer that delivers (serves up) Web pages. Every Web server has an IP address and possibly a domain name.

 

COOKIE TYPES

Cookie Name Deadline Data Sharing
Google Social Sharing (without login) NID 6 months Click here for Google privacy notes.
PREF 2 months
Google Social Sharing (with login) NID 6 months Click here for Google privacy notes.
SID, HSID, SSID, APISID, SAPISID 10 months
BEAT 2 days
Facebook Tracking fbm_126382900794549, fbsr_126382900794594 Session on website Click here for Facebook privacy policy.
Facebook Options (without login) Datr 2 years Click here for Facebook privacy policy.
Isd, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref Session on browser
Facebook Options (with login) Datr, lu 2 years Click here for Facebook privacy policy.
c_user, csm, s, xs, act, p, presence Session on browser
fr, locale 2 months
Twitter Options
k, js, __utmb From 1 day to 1 month Click here for Twitter privacy policy.
guest_id, __utma, __utmv 2 years
_twitter_sess, original_referer, __utmc, auth_token, auth_token_session, twid, lang Session on browser
__utmz 6 months
twll, remember_checked 10 years
YouTube BBILt.resume 1 month Click here for Google (and Youtube) privacy policy.
HSID 10 years
LOGIN_INFO 10 years
PREF 10 years
SID 10 years
SSID 10 years
VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE 8 months
demographics 6 months
dkv 3 months
use_hotbox Session on browser