What is a cookie?
A cookie is a benign text file that is stored in your browser when you visit almost any website. Cookies enable the site to remember your visit when you next return to that site. Although most people are not aware of it, cookies have actually been around for 20 years, ever since the first browsers were developed for the World Wide Web.
What a cookie IS NOT
It is not a virus, or a Trojan, or a worm, or spam, or spyware, nor does it open pop-up windows.
What information do cookies store?
Cookies do not usually store sensitive information about you, such as credit card or bank details, photographs, your ID number or personal information, etc. The data stored includes data of a technical nature, personal preferences, content customisation, etc.
The web server does not identify you as a person but your web browser. In fact, if you normally browse using Internet Explorer and you try to visit the same page with Firefox or Chrome, you will notice that the website does not realise that you are the same person, because the cookies are actually linked to the browser, not the person.
What are the different types of cookies?
- Technical Cookies: These are the most basic type and are used to identify, among other things, whether a human or an automated application is browsing, whether the user is anonymous or registered; basic tasks for the operation of any dynamic web.
- Analytics Cookies: Gather information on browser behaviour, the most visited pages, products viewed, time of use, language, etc.
- Advertising Cookies: Display advertising based on user browsing habits, country of origin, language, etc.
What are first-party and third-party cookies?
First-party cookies are those generated by the site you are visiting and those of third parties are those generated by external services or providers such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.
What happens if I disable the cookies?
The following is a list of some of the potential impacts resulting from disabling cookies:
- You will not be able to share content from the relevant website on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media network.
- The website will not be able to adapt the content to your personal preferences, a frequent feature in online stores.
- You will not be able to access the personal areas of the relevant website, such as My Account, My Profile or My Orders.
- Online stores: you will not be able to make purchases online, but will need to do so either by telephone or by visiting the physical store where possible.
- It will not be possible to personalise your geographical preferences such as time zone, currency or language.
- The website will not be able to analyse visitors to the website or traffic, which will make it difficult for the website to be competitive.
- You will not be able to write on the blog, upload photos, send comments or rate content. Neither will the website be able to identify whether you are human or an automated application that publishes spam.
- The website will not be able to display targeted advertising, which will reduce the advertising income for the website in question.
Can cookies be deleted?
Yes. Not only can they be deleted, but also blocked, in general or for a specific domain.
To delete cookies from a website, go to the settings section in your browser and search for the cookies associated with the domain in question and then delete them.
Cookie settings for most-commonly used browsers
Please find below instructions on how to access a specific cookie for Chrome. Please note: these steps may vary depending on your browser version:
- Go to Settings or Preferences using the File menu or by clicking on the customisation icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen.
- You will see various different sections, click on the option Show Advanced Options.
- Go to Privacy, Content Settings.
- Select All Cookies and Site Data.
- A list with all the cookies ordered by domain name will appear. To make it easier for you to find the cookies related to a particular domain, enter all or part of the address in the Cookie Search field.
- Once the filter has been applied, a list of the various cookies used by the website in question will be displayed. Now all you have to do is select the required cookie and select X to remove it.
Follow these steps to access the cookie settings for Internet Explorer (they may vary depending on your browser version):
- Go to Tools, Internet Options
- Click on Privacy.
- Move the slider bar to select the desired degree of privacy.
Follow these steps to access the cookie settings for Firefox (they may vary depending on your browser version):
- Go to Options or Preferences depending on your operating system.
- Click on Privacy.
- Select History and then Use custom settings for history.
- You will then see the option Accept cookies, where you can enable or disable cookies according to your preferences.
Follow these steps to access the cookie settings for Safari on OS X (they may vary depending on your browser version):
- Go to Preferences, then Privacy.
- You will see an option called Block cookies by which you can adjust the kind of restriction you wish to apply.
Follow these steps to access the cookie settings for Safari on iOS, (they may vary depending on your browser version):
- Go to Settings, then Safari.
- Go to Privacy and Security. You will see an option called Block cookies by which you can adjust the kind of restriction you wish to apply.
Follow these steps to access the cookie settings for browsers on Android devices (they may vary depending on your browser version):
- Run the browser and select the Menu key, then Settings.
- Go to Security and Privacy. You will see an option called Accept cookies where you can select or deselect the check box.
Follow these steps to access the cookie settings for browsers on Windows Phone devices (they may vary depending on your browser version):
- Open Internet Explorer, then More, then Settings
- Now you can then select or deselect the Allow cookies check box.