Enabling Cookies: What They Do and Why They Matter

A lady sitting outside scrolling on her phone.

Have you ever wondered how websites can remember your preferences and login information? Or why some advertisements you see perfectly align with products or services you’d be interested in? The answer is cookies, but not of the chocolate chip or peanut butter variety. These internet cookies play an important roll in how the internet works.  

What are cookies?

In short, cookies are small bits of information saved by your web browser. You can think of them as the internet’s short-term memory. Cookies are a way for websites to shape how the internet looks for you and personalize what you see based on interactions you’ve had with the website in the past. 

What cookies do and why they matter

Websites use these small files for a variety of purposes. They allow websites to “remember” your device and settings in order to give you the experience, content and advertisements that you are most interested in. 

You’ve probably experienced cookies in a number of ways, even when you weren’t aware of them. Cookies can be used to recall your login information, the items in your shopping cart or even your local weather. Cookies are part of what keeps your internet experience running smoothly, because without them, all these things and more would not be possible. Not only would you have to reenter this information every time you used the internet, but any customized preferences you have also couldn’t be saved. 

What you can do

Cookies shape the internet in a variety ways, but the great thing about cookies is we can control them. If you have privacy concerns about enabling cookies, you can control your cookie preferences within your browser. You can choose to allow, delete or completely block cookies. 

Different devices and browsers have different ways to manage your cookies. Normally your cookie preferences can be set within your browser settings under options or privacy; however, if you are unable to find them, instructions on how to do so can be found with a quick internet search. 

It is important to remember though, that by disabling cookies entirely you may limit your browsing experience on the internet. 

We also recommend using anti-virus and anti-malware on all your devices to further protect yourself while using the internet. 

If you have more questions about technology and internet safety, head over to our Personal Resource Security Center.