Cookies: what you should know about the small files

The most important facts about cookies in brief

  • As cookie (engl. "cookies" or "cookies"), a Text file which is used by an Website in the browsing history stored by the person visiting it. If this user calls the page again, then sends the cookie this information back is sent to the server – thus it can be traced how often and how long a page is visited by the same user.
  • Through the use of cookies Operator their Optimize offers, since so the traffic of the own side is shown and changes preset by the user are available also with the next attendance again.
  • Cookies and other programs which Data storage serve, are with many users widely frowned upon. Cookies in particular are often very vulnerable to a Data abuse.

"Cookies" on the Internet

Cookies are used almost everywhere by websites. What does this mean for the user?

More on the topic: Cookies

Even if the term "cookie" generally leads to associations with sweet pastries, a cookie in surfing has nothing to do with a cookie snack while surfing. The electronic namesake is Center of many disputes, and despite the innocent name many users are cookies skeptical vis-à-vis.

What is a cookie/cookies? What does "set cookies" mean?? Why does a cookie message appear recently when a page is visited?? Should I agree or disagree with cookies? The following Guidebook answers these questions and gives you a Overview of the topic.

What are cookies – and what are they not??

Since there are, with regard to cookies and their function, both many uncertainties as well as misconceptions If there is a problem with cookies, a few basic mechanisms should first be clarified.

Even though the Internet is still for many a somewhat anarchistic anonymity promises are users not so unrecognized, how they would like to be. In different ways traces are left on the internet – the personal "digital footprint" is not aware of a large part of users. This basically starts with what data is already when entering the Internet are left behind; this becomes important for understanding cookies.

Cookies from Google& Co. are short, digital text files

A user is in the net above all by its IP address, i.e. the assigned address of his technical device, to find. Whether PC, tablet or smartphone – each Internet-capable end device has an IP address. This does not mean that by using the Internet, your personal files can automatically be accessed from the outside, or that people can be easily tracked by their IP address. The IP address is among other things Internet search history important, because the Internet access via a browser using the respective IP address is noted.

Cookies are, technically speaking, nothing more than small text files. A website placed this file quasi into the browsing history of a user into it – that is why it is also spoken of "setting cookies. The cookie is sent either from the server to the private user sent (HTTP cookie) or when calling up a page generated (scripted cookie).

From the duration of the existence two types of cookies distinguished. Online services, which handle sensitive data, often work with session cookiesThese cookies are automatically deleted when the browser is closed. Permanent cookies – these are much more common – remain in the computer for months or even years, as long as they are not deleted.

Attention: Confuse cookies not with a "Doubleclick cookie" – latter is the name a Digital marketing tools from Google.

The regulations for cookies within the EU

Since the European Union countries represent a communal and liberal value system, is also considered with regard to the question of the privacy on the Internet after uniform regulation searched. Therefore "ePrivacy Directive" enacted. This has been expanded to include precise specifications for handling cookies – the latter is also as "Cookie Directive" known.

In this, the following can be found in Article 5(3):

Member States shall ensure that the storage of information or access to information already stored in a subscriber’s or user’s terminal equipment is only allowed if the subscriber or user in question has, on the basis of clear and comprehensive information, which it is required in accordance with Directive 95/46/EC u. a. about the purposes of the processing received, has given his consent.

In Germany However, until now, these regulations have only been partly or. still not completely implemented. Thus, in this country, the creation of user profiles previously applied the so-called Opt-out solution: According to this, it was still enough that Site operators in the privacy policy explained about cookies. Also, there was often a note about cookies in the respective imprint.

The new, cross-state solution has this old regulation made obsolete. If a site operator still wants to create a personal profile of a user – for example via a cookie – actually express agreement needed.

The reference to cookies is actually not enough, the user must agree to them

For this reason, the majority of all Internet sites do not display any information when a first visit a corresponding Cookie notice text a – often with the tenor, That the use of cookies affects the surfing experience improved and finally Advantages for the visitor/customer brings. When a website is visited and the cookie notice pops up in the field of view, most users still agree directly. Often it is also merely a matter of Note, that cookies are used – a Consent field does not exist there. This contradicts actually the directive established by the EU in matters of cookies and data protection.

Just because lately almost every website displays a cookie notice, that means Not, that were never set cookies before. Cookies have been used since about the early 1990s and have been in use ever since for almost all page visits in the background from.

About the functions of cookies

Usage analytics for site operators

Through the use of cookies and the information they generate, operators can not only Visiting hours and their Frequencies of their pages. On the basis of Usage flows can also detect internal errors and manage offers accordingly. sales and comparison portals, Streaming services, Search engines, Catalogs etc. therefore often have precise hit rates, because the user behavior is compared with each other and thus the best possible result can be determined.

Here it is important to emphasize that the corresponding cookies thereby detached from the natural person should be. How often and how long a user spends on certain parts of a website can and should be a without personal data contribute to the improvement of online services.

advertising to finance the websites

The use of cookies can create personal user profiles

The visit and use of many Internet sites is still free of charge for the user – which is why few think about how the operators of a website even finance.

A important source of income is Advertising. Even if this is often perceived as annoying by the user, it serves the Receipt of web pages, so that they can continue to be used free of charge. Through cookies advertising tailored to the individual user and presented to the user individually when the page is called up.

Personalization for the user

The storage function, which cookies fulfill, serve indeed mainly the site itself – nevertheless they have naturally also advantages for the respective user. Through the use of a cookie, the next time you visit a page, the cookie those settings reused, that the user enters on previous visits has made. These include for example

  • changing the language of the page
  • Zoom and font size
  • filling in fields for data input (personal data, user account, e-mail address, etc.).)
  • already accessed elements on the page
  • product suggestions, which are created on the basis of previously selected/purchased products
  • Personal wish and shopping lists

Data protection and cookies – an area of conflict

Privacy and cookies are often at odds with each other

The misuse of data on the Internet is an modern legal problem, which still includes a lot of criminal energy owns. In most cases, this is about the profit-oriented sale of data sets, Identity abuse and of course extortion of money. Even if jurisprudence and police want to act increasingly against such crimes, the Enlightenment rate often low and the perpetrators cannot be identified.

Due to the sheer endless number of portals, there are various ways in which online fraud can be perpetrated:

  • spamming (alleged gifts of money, payment reminders of supposed purchases, mails of known sites disguised as serious ones, combined with the request to enter data, etc.).)
  • malware with payment requests (Trojans, which block the use of the PC, the generation of viruses and the corresponding anti-virus software, etc.).)
  • the spying on Account data
  • Extortion through personal image material or recordings of a hacked computer camera

The attempts range from ridiculously obvious scams to very professional-looking offers. Above all older users often fall for such tricks, as background knowledge is missing and spams often strike a threatening tone.

Through cookies data theft is possible

When you agree to cookies, you often not only disclose your search history

The possibility of data tapping through the use of cookies is the biggest criticism of the small files. If, while browsing, you are shown an advertising banner for the very product you recently clicked on on another site, or if you wonder how the senders of spam e-mails found your e-mail address – in both cases it was probably a cookie. Are cookies vulnerable to external attacks, personal data is theoretically visible.

Not infrequently, large pages victims of hacker attacks. For email providers, personal messaging services and other websites, hundreds and thousands of user accounts are attacked. But even on a small scale this finds its way onto regular basis instead of.

Incorrect and not sufficiently protected cookies can be the reason for such data theft. In the past several cases became public, in which over Security gaps in cookies personal data of unknowing users could and could be seen from the outside. However, this does not only apply to unfair and fraudulent activities on the net: Thus, in the course of the NSA affair 2013 known to be used by the government via Google cookies information of its users has been collected.

The personal profile on the Internet

Disabling cookies and protecting one’s data is often not complicated

If websites use cookies, then in a certain way a visitor profile created. However, this should be limited to anonymous basis the information sent by cookies should not be associated with a specific person. The Optimization service works in most cases even if page views and search queries are not coupled with personal data are.

However, in many cases, the cross-site and sometimes illegal aggregation of cookies along with other data can very accurate user profile are created. Browsing histories, web searches, purchases, personal account activity on an – such collection not only uniquely identifies a person, but also records all of his or her activities.

Accept cookies – or rather not?

If over the necessary and unnecessary use of cookies and data privacy is being discussed, the argument quickly moves from the hundredth to the thousandth. The reason for this is probably that this topic not infrequently leads to the fundamental discussion of Freedom and Security, Entrepreneur interests and Consumer interests sparks. Especially against the background of the repeatedly publicized scandals about lack of protection of personal data cause recording mechanisms like cookies a sinking feeling.

It should be clear that despite all efforts from the outside, the World Wide Web still a largely unregulated place is. This will certainly change in the next few years – until then, however, the user should think carefully about, what he wants to share in this network of himself.

deleting cookies supports data protection

So whether you should allow cookies to be set or not depends on whether you, what is important to you personally and of course how you use the Internet. Do you appreciate personalization of online services and have no problems with the fact that your browsing habits are tracked by sites you visit, then you probably do not mind the use of cookies. However, many users do not feel comfortable having their browsing history logged.

delete and disable cookies – here’s how to do it

In principle, it is of course possible to Cookie Notice on a website easy to ignore – However, many people are quickly disturbed by these.

Use one of the major search programs and want disable cookies from now on, then you can do this via different Add-ons for your browser set. Do you want to remove already set cookies of previous visits, then you can make changes in the Privacy settings make. Safari and Firefox, for example, let a great control over cookies to. Google, whose search engine is often criticized, also offers such quarantines with its Chrome and Chromium browsers Extinguishing processes to.

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