What are cookies in computers?
Also known as browser cookies or tracking cookies, cookies are small, often encrypted text files, located in browser directories. They are used by web developers to help users navigate their websites efficiently and perform certain functions. Due to their core role of enhancing/enabling usability or site processes, disabling cookies may prevent users from using certain websites.
Cookies are created when a user’s browser loads a particular website. The website sends information to the browser which then creates a text file. Every time the user goes back to the same website, the browser retrieves and sends this file to the website’s server. Computer Cookies are created not just by the website the user is browsing but also by other websites that run ads, widgets, or other elements on the page being loaded. These cookies regulate how the ads appear or how the widgets and other elements function on the page.
Cookies are not viruses. Cookies use a plain text format. They are not compiled pieces of code so they cannot be executed nor are they self-executing. Accordingly, they cannot make copies of themselves and spread to other networks to execute and replicate again. Since they cannot perform these functions, they fall outside the standard virus definition.
Measuring our visitors
We measure visitors to our website using Google Analytics. This records what pages you view within our site, how you arrived at our site and some basic information about your computer. All of that information is anonymous – so we don’t know who you are, just that somebody visited our site.
Facebook, Google+ and other social networks
These services provide social buttons and similar features which we use on our website – such as the “Like” buttons.
To do so we embed code that they provide and we do not control ourselves. To function their buttons generally know if you’re logged in; for example Facebook use this to say “x of your friends like this”. We do not have any access to that information, nor can we control how those networks use it.
Social networks therefore could know that you’re viewing this website, if you use their services (that isn’t to say they do, but their policies may change). As our website is remarkably inoffensive we imagine this is not a concern for most users.