Last Revision: Aug 18, 2021
What Are Cookies?
A ‘cookie‘ is a small text file (described by RFC 2965) sent by a web server along with the response to a connection request from a web browser. These cookies are not required as part of the HTTP protocol but are used to maintain state and provide a better level of service and performance to the client.
Cookies are saved on your computer as a text file named according to the host name (i.e. cyberwip.com) in a file location reserved for cookies, the web service has no control over where on the computer the cookie will be stored or even if the cookies are stored at all, your browser may chose not to accept cookies.
Cookies for Identification
In the simplest case, a cookie may be an empty file used only as an indication (by its existence) that a previous connection has been made to the same service by that browser. Connecting to the same service with a different browser will create a different cookie.
In some cases, cookies contain only a single item which is a unique identifier (UID) identifying a single connection from a browser. Such a unique identifier might be the text string ‘uid=085D2163A74B37‘. These are typically referred to as ‘session cookies‘ and are automatically generated by the web service on the first request if no cookie is included with the request. Once a cookie has been established it will be sent along with the parameters for all subsequent requests from the server. This does not identify a person, anyone using that web browser on that computer at that time and connecting to the same web service would use the same cookie.
In this case, if a web service wanted to collect further information about any transactions that might occur, they would save the information in a database (at the web service’s location), with the UID being the index (key) to that information. Nothing would be stored on the client’s computer and nothing could be revealed to any spyware that might be on the client’s system snooping. Sensitive data such as credit card info or passwords should NEVER be stored in cookies.
Cookies for Storage
Cookies are mostly used to store information on the users computer containing details and user preferences such as a unique identifier (UID as described above), preferred language, location, or even the last web page visited so the user can return there on their next visit. This is especially useful if a visitor’s session is unexpectedly interrupted while in the middle of something. Generally, these cookies maintain session state.
Cookies for Tracking
Tracking via cookies has become a very common practice on the Internet and while usually done with the best of intentions, may be used in a malicious manner. This is not intended to disclose personal information but for target marketing. If you have ever done a Google search on ‘bicycles’ and noticed that for the next three days everywhere you go you see ads for bicycles you will have seen this in action. It’s annoying.. especially when you already bought one two days ago and Google is too stupid to know that.
We use session cookies during all interactions with the server to keep track of session state. The Internet is a connection-less protocol meaning you do not get a unique connection to the server but at the same time you are connected to the server dozens or even hundreds of other clients are using it at the same time. The session cookie allows us to keep track of what we are doing when, with any given client. These are temporary cookies and without them, using the internet would be a lot more complex.
Cookies for Statistics
Third Party Cookies
We have no control over the cookie policies of any external web resources including advertisers or linked-to websites. We also have no control over the cookie operations of any operating system, web browser, or computing device. Other hardware and services will have different policies.
Just as with most websites and the web browsers used to view those websites, cookie processing is automatic by Cyberwip and can not be controlled on an individual user level since without cookies we have no way of identifying the same browser on subsequent requests.. our website would be useless.
The best way to control cookie usage is through your web browser’s own operational interface (i.e. about:config). Most browsers allow seeing the saved cookies for any given website, or even deleting any stored cookies. Check your browser’s documentation for instructions.