Cookies can be said to be minute files on personal computers whichcarry small amounts of information. Cookies in a computer carry orstore data or information in relation to a particular computer useror in relation to a particular website. The files are created by thewebsite and they have a small size of 4 kilo bytes (Casey, 2014). Thesmall files are stored in the user’s computer. It is essential tostate that the files can be temporary for a particular session, orcan be permanent in a user’s computer. Cookies are non-executablefiles and therefore cannot be classified as viruses. Additionally,cookies are unable to replicate themselves to other networks and orcomputers and therefore cannot be referred to as viruses (Casey,2014). Since cookies can at times be used for malicious purposes, theweb developers have ensured that they give the users the option ofenabling or disabling cookies. It is worth noting, however, thatdisabling cookies may affect the functionality of some websites.Cookies have various uses for computer uses dealing with the web.
To start with, cookies are used by the websites to store user’sinformation such as login details. When such a user wants to login,the information stored in the cookies will be retrieved to ensurethat the user does not keep on keying the same login details everytime he or she visits the website. The browser sends this informationto the web, which in turn stores it as a text file. When theparticular user visits the website, he does not have to login againor change the themes of the webpage again (Shelly & Vermaat,2013). Cookies are also used to remember the activities of a user ona webpage. This is extremely useful since it ensures that the userdoes not have to remember any information regarding the sites that heor she visited. It is paramount to note that web pages do not haveany memory that they can use to remember the various sites that theuser visited. In other words, the pages cannot store any informationregarding browsing activities. Cookies come in as very useful formsof bookmarks to ensure that the users have an easy time whenrevisiting websites for a second or a third time.
It is clear that online shopping has become extremely commonnowadays. More often than not, numerous people would want theirshopping lists to the saved by the webpage so that they can use themat a later date. Cookies serve this purpose extremely well. Theystore shopping information for web users hence ensuring that suchusers have an extremely easy time when revisiting websites to order.In this regard, cookies eliminate the burden of the shopper ofremembering all the items one has put in the cart. There are variouswebpage users who like to customize their themes and layouts whichhelp them on how the information will be displayed. Cookies are usedto store these user preferences (Casey, 2014). It ensures that theuser does not have to key in or change the theme. Many people changethe appearance of the website to ensure that they are comfortablewith its appearance. In the absence of cookies, such web pages cannotstore user preferences of users. It is therefore clear that cookiesare extremely important in a computer.
The information stored by cookies may be regarding certain productsbeing marketed. It is essential to note that cookies ensure thatusers are given tailor made adverts which they searched or browsedpreviously. Publishers of adverts are therefore able to meet theinterests of the specific web users (Shelly & Vermaat, 2013).Tracking cookies have allowed advertisers to send specific adverts toparticular people who are interested in them. It is essential to notethat most commercial websites contain embedded adverts from thirdparties. These embedded websites carry cookies for the third partywebsites which track visitors. When such users visit other websiteswith similar embedded adverts from the same third party, theadvertiser is able to recognize the user and send tailor madeadverts. However, this move has been criticized by many users whoargue that it invades with their privacy.
Saint, L. S. (2012). Cookies. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Casey, E. (2014). Digital evidence and computer crime:Forensic science, computers and the Internet.London: Academic Press.
Shelly, G. B., & Vermaat, M. (2013). Discoveringcomputers: Fundamentals. Boston, Mass: Course Technology,Cengage Learning.