Aug 1, 2022
What is a Cookie and how are they used?
A cookie is a file containing a small snippet of plain text as described by RFC 6265, formatted as a list of expressions (eg. name = “John Doe”). These cookies are stored on your computer or other web browsing device in a location specifically for the purpose of saving these cookies between visits to the same website. The physical location of this folder varies with device family, but it is usually in a somewhat protected area among the operating environment's storage.
Each website you visit and, in some cases even different sections of any given website (ie Shopping) will have their own cookie file. There is no way to access cookies from any other web site while connected to any site, all any website can see is their own cookies.
A typical cookie file might look like
In this case:
SIDis a unique user identification that is assigned and in effect for this visit (session cookie) that is used by the server for security (are they Logged In)? These types of cookies are essential for the normal operation of virtually every website on the internet. If these cookies were disabled, the internet would cease to be in operation.
These are only typical examples of what a cookie may contain. Any secure information will be encrypted by the server before saving it to the browser so that if the cookies do get breached (eg Malware on your computer), sensitive data can't be compromised.
Before your browser visits any website it checks the cookie files and if a cookie file is found relating to the website being visited, the cookies (individual lines) are sent along with the request to the web server. So the website will know that you are back, and a registered user...
At any time, with every response sent by the server, the server can add cookies to the collection of cookies for the website. These might be temporary (session) or persistent (saved between visits). The new cookies will be sent along with the original cookies on the next page request.
Various types of cookies are assigned based on their use and life expectancy:
- Session Cookies - are temporary cookies erased when the browser closes. The next time your browser is started, if you visit the same website again, it will not have access to any information from any previous sessions. Session cookies are critical to proper website operation.
- Persistent Cookies - These cookies get stored by your browser until you delete them, or they expire. Expiration time is set by the cookie sender at the time the cookie is created. No restrictions exist for time limits on cookies.
The biggest offenders of privacy invasion is by far third party content and the largest single offender is none other than Google who openly admits and even brags about their visitor tracking and reporting capabilities. While they may not sell your personal profile information (or even give it away), they do collect it and make use of it and in most cases not even you can delete it, change it, or even see it.
How Cookies can become a Problem
In the simplest case, anyone using your computer will have full access to all services for which your computer uses cookie access. This can include your bank login and account information, your credit card or other purchasing details, and your social networking login details. Virtually anyone using your computer can at some level impersonate you for good or for bad.
This website uses session cookies as the website couldn't operate at any level of efficiency without them. In order to register as a user of this website and be provided with privileged access, you must have cookies enabled in your browser.
We use 'session cookies' during the handling of all web requests to identify individual visitors not personally but by a unique identifier assigned at the beginning of each session. In cases where a users browser does not accept cookies this unique identifier may be appended to all site URLS as variables '
?id=277fa567cb326e7' allowing the same functionality.
This website also uses persistent cookies for connection time, login state, legal document status, visitor preferences, and saving commonly used form field data (ie comment fields) containing non-security sensitive values. These cookies normally expire in anywhere from a few hours to a few days but in cases where a user must be logged-in to use the services, if temporarily side-tracked or at the end of the day the user can turn their computer off or do something else, and when returning they can continue the in same state as logged in. If this is a potential problem the user can forcefully log out of the service.
Cookie processing is automatic on this website and can not be controlled on an individual user level since without cookies we have no way of identifying individual users or their preferences. Most current web browsers (ie Chrome, Firefox, Safari) have extensions either included or available that let you view the cookies associated with any given website, or delete them. You may even disable cookies altogether although you may not appreciate the results.
- An excellent article controlling cookie use can be found at PC Mag - How to Control and Delete Cookies on Your Browser
- A better description of cookies and their use on the internet can be fount at Wikipedia - HTTP cookie
- For any concerns regarding this or any of our other legal policies, please contact us at
privacy (at) design4effect.com.
Links to our other legal policies can be found in the footer of every page on this website.