Most internet users have heard of something called tracking cookies – they definitely sound scary. Tracking cookies are essentially pieces of data placed on your computer that track your internet habits in order to tailor the web for you. How and why? Read on past the break for more.

What are cookies?
When a person visits a website, a set of data is placed onto the user’s system. This data is then sent back to the website the next time they visit. This data is known as a cookie. Cookies allow automatic logins, allows site to remember your preferences by storing the information in the text file.

What are tracking cookies?
Tracking cookies are cookies that track the online movements of the user.These cookies are frequently placed by advertisers, to find out what kind of things you’re interested in. It can then cater advertisements to your interest. These cookies are small in size – in essence, they are text files.

What are “first party” & “third party” cookies?
When you visit a website, a cookie is placed on your system. If the cookie is placed by the website itself, it is called a ‘first party’ cookie.
However, a website usually consists of many other domain services in its content, usually for advertising. If the website places a cookie on your system, and it is originating from a website other than the one you are on, it is known as a “third party” cookie.
For example: You are visiting a website called www.all-about-cookies.com, and a cookie is placed on your system from this very website. This cookie is a first party cookie. If the web page www.all-about-cookies.com uses www.third-party-cookies.com as the other domain service, and your website places a cookie from this site, it is a third party cookie.

How can we remove third party cookies in our system?
Third party cookies can be easily detected with the the help of special security software. When you scan your system with software such as Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, the tracking cookies can be detected and removed.

Can third party cookies can harm our system?
This question is the probably the most asked question for internet users. Most of the third party cookies are placed by advertisers.Third party cookies are created by advertisers only to tack the movements of users.
However, privacy issues are still raised by the use of tracking cookies since they allow companies to track the user’s movements on the internet. Although the third party cookies can be detected by the security software, it doesn’t mean that it can harm your system like viruses, Trojans or worms. It’s created only to track the movement of users. While it doesn’t harm your computer, it can be considered a breach of privacy. Most advertisers have an opt-out policy for their tracking cookies.

How can I delete the cookies from my system?
Cookies are stored as temporary data in our system. It can be easily detected and deleted with the help of security software, as mentioned before. All internet browsers offer options to delete the cookies.

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