Everyone is always asking about cookies. Are Cookies Malware? Nope! You have cookies on your mac right now! However, they are not harmful … mostly. What are cookies? Why do you care? And how do you get rid of them?
Cookies are tiny files stored on your web browser that tells them that you are visiting that you have been there before. A good real-world example is if you were to go to an amusement park and they stamp your hand. This way when you leave the park and return they can tell that you have already paid and let you back in.
In a website, this is most commonly used so you do not have to put in your password when you come back to that website after a day or so. This is also why some websites are able to tell what settings you like and if you have purchased an item from them.
The website that created the cookie ” should ” be the only website to see those cookies. However, that has changed
The problem is that some companies have figured out how to share their cookies with other websites. This means that if you are visiting a site that offers cat toys may sell access to their cookies to a site that sells pet food. The New website knows that you have a cat and will put cat food in front of the list of things they will try to sell you.
Now here is where things go bad. Now think about if that site that does the advertising does other ads than cat food. They start to build a profile of all the websites where they host ads. Now they can figure out what hobbies you have, How often you visit cooking websites etc.
Cookies on web browsers take up very little space. They are VERY tiny.
Fortunately, cookies can only be seen by companies that have permission. They could only see if your login status. So no cookie can see your bank password. (That would require malware …and that is worse than any cookie)
No, they cannot without going into long boring expiation lets just say it does not quite work like that.
Websites would not be able to tell that you have visited before. Using the theme park analogy again they would not be able to tell that you have paid to visit that day and would ask you to do so again.
Basically, you would lose a lot of preferences with individual websites and would have to log in again.
Though Facebook is a little more insidious than cookies. Many sites actually include some actual Facebook code so they can tell if the ads they purchase on Facebook is working. What they do not understand is that tracking services do not stop working when that website is no longer running an ad (We do not have a Facebook tracking code on our website)
So creepy tracking no … Cookies not so much.
It is bad to have targeted ads?
I can tell when my wife has been using my computer to research on the internet. The ads on many sites change from High-end computer courses and the latest Apple accessories to power tools and Archery Equipment. This is not bad.
I actually do not mind targeted ads. It is a lot better than ads for products I will never use. Then again they are ads, and now and then I feel they know too much about me. So it is time to clear the cookies.
How do you remove cookies on a Mac?
This actually depends on your browser. However, you can often go to Brower settings and look under “Privacy”. All will have an option to block cookies, Delete cookies, Or remove all cookies.
There is nothing wrong with removing the cookies now and then if you have all your Passwords saved somewhere.
Blocking Cookies on a Mac All together
Almost all web browsers will have settings where they will allow you to block third party cookies, Block cookies for some websites or block them altogether. This is not a bad idea to consider how much privacy you want to have. Just be aware that some sights will not function as well without cookies. I do recommend trying this out and see if that works for you.
Using Magg-pi to block ads that are intrusive with tracking
We have a new service called Magg-pi, it is mostly used for keeping kids and seniors off the bad parts of the internet. Though one of the built-in features is that it has an ever-growing list of ads and sites that have invasive cookie tracking. These sites are blocked by the Magg-pi across your network.
List of things that removing cookies do not Fix
Like I said before Cookies get blamed for a lot of things. Often they are deleted for the wrong reasons because the person deleting them has no idea what cookies are but have been told they are bad.
- Cookies will not save you hard drive space. (All the cookies your web browser could gather in 10 years will not even equal one five-second video in )
- Cookies are not malware (Though can be used with malware you already have)
- Cookies do not change how your battery on your Macbook functions
- Cookies are not your true browser history. Though they will remember if you have logged in to their website or not.
- Cookies cannot affect your computer hardware
- Cookies will not reduce your internet speed or wifi reception
Cookies on a mac are not as bad as you think but still not tasty
Overall Cookies can not harm your computer and actually a useful part of everyday internet use. However, they can be a privacy concern.
Next time we will talk about “Ever Cookies” and “Super Cookies”
If your web browser is acting odd it could be that you have malware on your Mac and need to have ti removed. If that is the case call us and we can help