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What is a cookie?

KB279 Last reviewed 14 September 2016
Explanation of website cookies.

Introduction

This article explains what a cookie is and how it may be used.

What is a Cookie?

A cookie is a small text file that your web browser saves to your computer. Cookies are used by websites to store and use information during your visit. Cookies are frequently used to improve your experience when using a website by:

  • Remembering preferences
  • Measuring how a website is used so changes may be used to improve your experience.

Examples of cookie usage include:

  • Remembering login details
  • Remembering site preferences
  • Storing online shopping baskets

Why are cookies sometimes considered dangerous?

Allowing cookies does not permit a website to install viruses or other malware upon a user's device. However, cookies may be potentially used to track a user's activity across the Internet.

For example, advert services like Google Ads use cookies to track visits to other websites using their advertising services. Based on this, they are able to more accurately determine (or tailor) adverts to your interests.

Additional Information

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