Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!
While you celebrate today by enjoying one of America’s favorite types of cookies, remember to also keep in mind the not-so-sweet cookies in your life. Internet cookies are tiny pieces of data sent to your browser from the websites you visit. They contain information such as your username, password, and site preferences. Though they can be convenient by saving information so that you don’t have to re-enter it every time you visit a website you frequent, they can compromise your privacy, security, and even your device’s performance.
Top 3 Reasons Why you Should Consider Deleting your Cookies:
- For Privacy– If you share a device with others or use a public device, you may want to delete cookies if you don’t want others seeing your browsing history. Even if you’re the only person who uses your device, deleting cookies may be beneficial if you’re concerned with the amount of PII (personally identifiable information) the internet has about you. Sites that use persistent cookies (cookies that get saved for long periods of time) may be especially worrying if you’re trying to keep your PII under wraps. If you disable or delete cookies on sites you don’t want keeping track of your information, they won’t be able to track the count number of times you visit their site, and they can’t create a digital persona based on that activity. As a result, you will likely see fewer targeted ads. Deleting existing cookies allows you to start fresh and choose the types of cookies you want on each site.
- For Security- Hackers can and have accessed browser sessions and stolen personal info stored in a website’s cookies. Credit card information, home addresses, email addresses, and a slew of other information can be retrieved based on the types of sites hackers are able to get into. Additionally, third-party cookies are especially worrisome if you’re concerned about security. These cookies allow website owners to sell your browsing data to third parties like advertisers. Unfortunately, once they’re sold, you have no control over what third parties use your data for and could use personal data to commit online crimes like identify theft.
- For Performance– Lastly, stored data in cookies may conflict with the website they’re related to if the page gets updates. If this happens, the site may load errors. Further, cookies are actually stored files on your hard drive, so they do take up some space on computer. If left untouched for long enough, the small amount of storage cookies typically hold adds up and can slow down the speed of your device.
To delete cookies from a browser, generally, you’ll go to your “Settings” and “Privacy” tabs. Then, you can clear the cookies stores in your website browsing data and history. You can also customize which cookies you want deleted based on specific time ranges and other specifications. Cookies for websites that hold especially sensitive information, such as your banking website, should always be declined or deleted to protect yourself from potential cybercrimes. Additionally, if your antivirus software flags site cookies as suspicious, you should delete them. If you’re concerned with the capabilities of your antivirus software or are in need of one, consider reaching out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!