What Are Cookies Essay

Submitted By barryadd
Words: 1038
Pages: 5

Cookies are stored information in plain text for future use that is stored by the server on the client side of a client server’s communication.  It is stored on the hard disk by web sites so the web page can remember the user’s preferences when he or she returns to the site.  The cookie allows the server to store its own set of information about the user’s computer. Cookies can be used to rotate the banner ads of a web site that it sends so that the web site does not keep sending the same ads as it sends the users requested pages.  Cookies can also be used to help authenticate logins to Web sites and they can be used to track where a user goes.  Security cookies can be used to remember your name, colors and fonts, and user’s password.
Cookies can be used to help customize web pages for the user depending on the type of web browser he or she is using along with any other information he or she may have provided the web site with.  Cookies in web application allow browsers to take the responsibility of sending data.  Browsers will automatically arrange the cookies for multiple sites and cookies are easy to implement and use.
Cookies also have limitations such as information not being secure because it stores the information in simple text format.  The size limit for cookies is also a limitation because it can only have 4096 bytes / 4KB of data and the maximum number of cookies allowed depending on the browser is also limited.  Once the browser reaches its maximum limit of cookies, when new cookies are established the older cookies get deleted.  If the user needs to configure his or her browser, high security configuration browsers may not allow cookies to work properly.  Some third-party cookies can also be a serious threat to individual’s privacy.
Cookies and Security
Very frequently, cookies are used to track the login information of Internet users.  With a very simple mechanism, when the Web visitor signs in the username and password, a cookie is sent with the answer that identifies the user.  As long as the cookie stays valid, the information is recognized as the information from the original user.  Most sites use session cookies, which are deleted when the user close the browser.  Some login forms offer a “remember me” option to keep cookies active for a longer period of time.  Cookies are vulnerable to Packet Sniffing and Session Hijacking when someone intercepts traffic between computer and Internet.
Cookies and Lifecycle Management
During the webpage lifecycle cookies play an important task.  Cookies tell the browser the user who is navigating the site and when the original user has left it.  Most browsers will ask the login information to the user who return to the site after certain inactive time, or when the user ask to perform determined inputs or changes which may affect the site or the user security.
Usability  
Cookies can work positively or negatively over the page usability.  Cookies that securely remember your login information, your prefer sites, your choices, performance, etc. will give speed and precision to your Internet session.  Cookies which provide targeted content or advertising may convert an internet experience in a night mare.
Cookies are a very important concept to security, page lifecycle management, and usability to both users and organizations.

Cookies are basically text files that are saved on the user's computer when surfing the Internet. These text files help web sites recognize the visitor at the point of each return. They are also used by web sites for many other reasons. On the business side the cookies may be used to track sales on a particular product.

When discussing cookies with security, some users automatically think about viruses and other malware. However, they are not typically used to harm a computer. Normally, the organization placing the cookie is looking for some type of information to help it