Cookies and You
What are cookies?
Cookies are small files which contain pieces of data that are used to identify your computer when you are on a network. HTTP cookies specifically are used to help identify individual users and help when browsing the web. The information stored within cookies is labeled with a unique ID so that you (the user) and your computer can be identified.
These cookies were made specifically for web browsing. With these cookies, websites or servers can observe, save and even help personalize the user’s experience. Since cookies can track what you view or click on, they can help to personalize your experience by giving you advertisements that are related to the websites that you have visited or the products that you have clicked on.
The way that cookies can identify you is based on a name-value pair. This is used so that the cookies know where to be sent and what information needs to be recalled. An easy example to illustrate how this works would be valet services. If you use a valet service, you give them your car so they can park it and they give you a ticket or identifier of some sort. When you come back to pick up your car they match your car to the ticket number that you have. Cookies work the same way but instead of giving a ticket, the web server identifies you by your name/user and then recalls the website or information that you were viewing.
Cookies three main purposes are session management, personalization and tracking. Session management is referring to how cookies allow websites to identify users to remember individual login info or preferences. This leads right into the next purpose of personalization. Cookies will allow for personalized ads based on what you view and click on. Tracking sounds scary, but it is mainly used for shopping sites to see what products you have viewed so that they can suggest similar ones. Tracking with cookies is also how websites are able to use the shopping cart feature to save the products that you want to purchase.
Dangers of Cookies
Cookies are very helpful and useful when they are used correctly. However, this is not always the case. Cyber criminals can use the information that is stored in these cookies to find ways to attack you or your organization. Cookies store different types of personal data which is important to keep safe. If your information is not secured, you could have compromised accounts and many more issues.
Firestorm Cyber and Safety
Firestorm Cyber can help to protect your personal information such as those that are stored within cookies through two main functions.
First off, we offer the Sophos Firewall, which is used to limit or completely deny network traffic that comes from specific addresses. The firewall is used to help limit the amount of potentially harmful traffic that can enter your network.
Another security solution that we offer is Sophos endpoint protection. Endpoint protection is a hybrid of malware identification and anti-virus software. The Sophos endpoint protection software can help to identify risky files or data and then can terminate it before it is able to harm your device.