A cookie or magic cookie is an amount of data that a server sends to the browser with the intention that it is stored and sent back to the server on a next visit. This allows the server to recognize the browser again and keep track of what the user, or the web browser, has done in the past. Such a history is interesting for marketing purposes, for example. Due to the privacy aspects, the use of cookies, which is often hidden from view of the internet user, is controversial in these situations.

Background information

The use of cookies is mainly known on the world wide web. The Hypertext Transfer Protocol, which describes the retrieval of information from the web, is designed as a one-way traffic system. The browser requests information and the server provides it, after which the server can forget about contact with the requester. Further questions are then treated exactly as the first. However, many modern Internet applications require the server to be able to recognize a specific user and create the illusion of a permanent connection to the customer.

Use of cookies

Cookies can be used for:

remembering login name or settings
collecting surfing information (profiling)
linking a browser to temporary variables on the server (session cookie)
A cookie does not have to contain a lot of data. If the cookie contains a unique key, the server can store all further data about the relevant user or web browser under that key and call it up when the cookie appears in a next session.

Purpose of cookies

The purpose of a certain type of cookies, called tracking cookies, is to collect information about web surfers. This goes like this:

  • One visits a website (let’s call this website A) that has advertising in the page. This advertising usually comes from an advertising agency’s website and this website may also store cookies.
  • Later, one comes to another website (website B), which uses the same advertising agency to display advertising, so the advertising website can request the previously placed cookie.
  • This allows one to find out that the user has also been to website A and to adapt the content of the advertisement accordingly. If the number of sites where this advertising agency is active is large enough, user profiles can be created.

Not only websites, but also flash applications can leave tracking cookies. These are usually not removed by antivirus software because it is stored in a different form, but you can remove them yourself.

One could disable the acceptance of cookies by the internet browser as a privacy measure, but this can lead to problems (for example, to stay logged in on a website, cookies are generally used). However, tracking cookies are less dangerous than some anti-virus software suggests.[3] For example, they cannot place a virus on a computer. The biggest problem is the invasion of privacy and anonymity. A number of Adblockers (internet browser plugin that, among other things, block advertisements) also block tracking cookies.

source: Wiki

How can I delete cookies?

Deleting cookies in Internet Explorer

  1. Go to the Tools -> Internet Options -> General menu.
  2. Under Browsing history, click Delete.
  3. If you only want to delete cookies, leave the check mark in front of cookies and click on delete.

Deleting cookies in Firefox

  1. Go to Tools -> Options -> Privacy tab.
  2. Click Clear your recent history.
  3. Under Details, check Cookies in any case.

Deleting cookies in Chrome

  1. Click on the 3-line icon at the top right.
  2. Click Options -> Advanced Options tab.
  3. Under Privacy, click Clear browsing data.
  4. In any case, make sure that Delete cookies and other site data is checked.

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