Following the EU “e-Privacy” Directive, in force since May 26, 2012, and Law no. 506 of November 17, 2004, on the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector, all website visitors must consent before sending cookies to their computers.
What are Cookies?
A cookie is a small file consisting of letters and numbers that will be stored on a computer, mobile terminal, or other user equipment accessing the Internet. The cookie is installed by a web server request to a browser (e.g., Chrome, Internet Explorer). It is entirely “passive” (does not contain software, viruses, or Spyware and can not access the information on the user’s hard drive).
What are cookies used for?
These files make it possible to recognize the user’s terminal and present the content in a relevant way, adapted to the user’s preferences. Cookies provide users with a pleasant browsing experience. They are also used to prepare aggregate anonymous statistics that help us understand how a user benefits from our web pages, allowing us to improve their structure and content, excluding the user’s personal identification.
What cookies do we use?
We use two types of cookies: per session and fixed. The latter are temporary files that remain in the user’s terminal until the end of the session or the closing of the application (web browser). The fixed files remain on the user’s terminal for a period in the Cookie parameters or until the user manually deletes them.
Do cookies contain personal data?
Why are cookies necessary for the Internet?
Cookies are the focal point of the efficient operation of the Internet, helping to generate a friendly browsing experience tailored to each user’s preferences and interests. Declining or disabling cookies may make some sites impossible to use.
Examples of important uses of cookies (which do not require a user to authenticate through an account): measurement, optimization, and analytics features – such as confirming a certain level of traffic to a website, what type of content is viewed, and how a user reaches a website (e.g., through search engines, directly from other websites, etc.). Websites conduct these analyzes of their use to improve the sites for the benefit of the users.
Security and privacy issues
Cookies are not viruses! They use plain text formats. They are not made up of pieces of code, so they cannot be executed or run. Consequently, they cannot be duplicated or replicated on other networks to run or replicate again. Because they cannot perform these functions, they cannot be considered viruses.
Cookies may, however, be used for malicious purposes. Because it stores information about users’ preferences and browsing history, both on a particular site and several other sites, cookies can be used as a form of Spyware. Many anti-spyware products are aware of this and constantly mark cookies to be deleted during anti-virus / anti-spyware deletion/scanning procedures.
In general, browsers have integrated privacy settings that provide different levels of acceptance of cookies, validity periods, and automatic deletion after visiting a particular site.
Other security issues related to cookies:
Because identity protection is valuable and represents every internet user’s right, it is advisable to know what possible problems cookies can create. Because through them, information is continuously transmitted in both directions between the browser and the website. If an attacker or unauthorized person intervenes during data transmission, the information contained in the cookie may be intercepted.
Although very rare, this can happen if the browser connects to the server using an unencrypted network (e.g., an unsecured WiFi network).
Other cookie-based attacks involve incorrect cookie settings on servers. If a website does not require the browser to use only encrypted channels, attackers can use this vulnerability to trick browsers into sending information through unsecured channels. Attackers then use the information to gain unauthorized access to certain sites. It is essential to be careful in choosing the most appropriate method of personal information protection.
Tips for safe and responsible browsing based on cookies.
Here are some tips that can ensure that you browse without worries but with the help of cookies:
Customize your browser settings for cookies to reflect a comfortable level of cookie security for you.
If you do not mind cookies and are the only person using the computer, you can set long expiration dates to store your browsing history and personal access data.
If you share access to your computer, you may want to consider setting your browser to clear individual browsing data each time you close your browser. This is a way to access the sites that place cookies and delete any visitor information at the end of the browsing session.
Install and regularly update your anti-spyware applications.
Many of the spyware detection and prevention applications include site attack detection. This prevents the browser from accessing websites that could exploit browser vulnerabilities or download malicious software.
Make sure your browser is always up to date.
Many of the cookie-based attacks are exploited by exploiting the weaknesses of older versions of browsers.
Cookies are everywhere and cannot be avoided if you want to enjoy access to the best and largest Internet sites – local or international. With a clear understanding of how they operate and the benefits they bring, you can take the necessary security measures to surf the Internet with confidence.
Disabling and refusing to receive cookies may make certain sites impractical or difficult to visit and use.
Also, the refusal to accept cookies does not mean that you will no longer receive/see online advertising.
It is possible to set in the browser so that these cookies are no longer accepted, or you can set the browser to accept cookies from a specific site.
All modern browsers offer the ability to change cookie settings. These settings are usually found in the “options” or “preferences” menu of your browser.
The following links may be useful; otherwise, you can use the browser’s “Help” option for more details.
Cookie settings in the Chrome browser
Cookie settings in the Internet Explorer browser
Cookie settings in the Firefox browser
Cookie settings in the Safari browser
If you want to find out more about cookies and what they are used for, we recommend the following links:
Genesis Support SRL is an organized company that operates under Romania’s laws, headquartered in Iasi, registered with RC under no. J22 / 1905/2018, CUI 39636829.