What is a cookie?

A cookie is a small file, generally made up of letters and numbers, which is downloaded to a computer's memory (or other equipment used for online browsing - mobile phone, tablet, etc.) when the user accesses a particular website.

Cookies are created when a user's browser displays a particular website. The website sends information to the browser, and it creates a text file. Every time the user accesses that web site again, the browser accesses and transmits this file to the website's server. In other words, the cookie can be seen as an Internet User ID card that announces the website every time the user returns to that site.

A cookie consists of 2 parts: the name and the content or the cookie value. Furthermore, the duration of a cookie is determined; technically, only the webserver that sent the cookie can access it again when a user returns to the website associated with that webserver.

Cookies themselves do not require personal information to be used and, in most cases, do not personally identify Internet users.

There are two categories of cookies:

Session cookies - they are temporarily stored in the web browser's cookie folder so that the browser saves them until the user exits the web site or closes the browser window.

Persistent cookies - They are stored on the hard drive of a computer or device (and generally depends on the default cookie lifetime). Persistent cookies include those placed on a website other than the one the user is currently visiting - known as 'third party cookies' - which can be used anonymously to memorize the interests of a user so as to deliver the most relevant advertising for users.

 

Benefits of cookies

A cookie contains information that links a web browser (user) and a specific web-server (website). If a browser accesses that web server again, it can read the already stored information and respond accordingly. Cookies provide users with a pleasant browsing experience and support the efforts of many websites to provide user-friendly services: ex - online privacy preferences, site language options, shopping carts, or relevant advertising.

 

Duration of a cookies

 

Cookies are managed by web servers. The life of a cookie may vary significantly, depending on the purpose for which it is placed. Some cookies are used only for one session (session cookies) and are no longer retained once the user has left the website and some cookies are retained and reused each time the user returns to that site ('cookie- permanent '). However, cookies can be deleted by a user at any time through browser settings.

 

Cookies placed by third parties

 

Certain sections of content on some sites may be provided through third parties/vendors (eg news box, video or advertisement). These third parties may also place cookies through the site and they are called "third party cookies" because they are not placed by the owner of that website. Third-party vendors must also comply with the applicable law and privacy policies of the site owner.

 

How cookies are used by this site?

 

A visit to this site may place cookies for purposes of:

- visitor analysis cookies;

- Recording cookies

- cookies for advertising.

These cookies may come from the following third parties: Google, Facebook, LinkedIn.

 

Cookies for Analysis

 

Every time a user visits this site, third-party analytics software generates a user's analysis cookie. This cookie tells us if you've visited this site before. The browser will tell us if you have this cookie, and if not, we will generate one. It allows the monitoring of the unique users who visit us and how often they do it.

As long as you are not registered on this site, this cookie can not be used to identify individuals, they are only used for statistical purposes. If you are registered, we may also know the details you have provided us, such as your email address and username - subject to the confidentiality and provisions of the Terms and Conditions, the Privacy Policy and the legal provisions in force with regard to the protection of personal data.

 

Cookies for Registration

 

When you register on this site, we generate a cookie that tells us if you are registered or not. Our servers use these cookies to show us your account and if you have permission for a specific service. It also allows us to associate any comment or question you post on our site with your username. If you have not selected "keep me registered", this cookie will be automatically deleted when you close your browser or computer.

 

Cookies for advertising

 

These cookies let us know whether or not you have viewed an online ad, what type of ad, and how long it has been since you saw the ad message.

These cookies are also used to target online advertising. We may also use third-party cookies for better advertising targeting, for example, to show cat commercials if the user has recently visited an article on cats site. These cookies are anonymous, they store information about the viewed content, not about the users.

 

What type of information is stored and accessed through cookies?

 

Cookies store information in a small text file that allows a website to recognize a browser. The webserver will recognize your browser until the cookie expires or is deleted.

The cookie stores important information that enhances your Internet browsing experience (for example, the settings of the language in which you want to access a site, keeping a logged-in user, online banking security, keeping your products in the shopping cart).

 

Why are internet cookies important?

 

Cookies are the central focus of the Internet's efficient operation, helping to generate a friendly browsing experience and tailored to the preferences and interests of each user. Denying or disabling cookies can make some sites unusable.

Denying or disabling cookies does not mean you will not get online advertising - just that it will no longer be able to keep track of your preferences and interests highlighted by your browsing behavior.

Examples of important uses of cookies (which do not require authentication of a user through an account):

  • Content and services tailored to user preferences - news, weather, sports, maps, public and government services, entertainment sites and travel services
  • Offers tailored to the interests of users - password retention, language preferences (eg: displaying search results in Romanian)
  • Retain child copy filters for Internet content (family mode options, safe search functions)
  • Limit ad serving frequency - limit the number of impressions of an ad for a particular user on a site.

 

Provide more relevant advertising for the user

Measurement, optimization, and Analytics features - such as confirming a certain level of traffic on a website, what type of content is viewed, and how a user reaches a website (eg through search engines, directly from other websites etc.). Websites run these analyzes of their use to improve sites for the benefit of users.

 

Security and confidentiality issues

 

Cookies are not viruses! They use plain text formats. They are not made of pieces of code so they can not be executed or executed on their own. Consequently, they can not duplicate or replicate on other networks to run or replicate again. Because they can not perform these functions, they can not be considered viruses.

Cookies can still be used for negative purposes. Because it stores information about user preferences and browsing history, both on a particular site and on several other sites, cookies can be used as a form of Spyware. Many anti-spyware products are aware of this and consistently mark cookies to be deleted in anti-virus/anti-spyware removal/scanning procedures.

 

Other security issues related to cookies

 

Because identity protection is very valuable and is the right of every Internet user, it is advisable to know what problems can create cookies. Because their information is constantly transmitted in both directions between the browser and the website, if an attacker or unauthorized person interferes with the data transmission path, the information contained in the cookie can be intercepted.

Although very rare, this can happen if the browser connects to the server using an unencrypted network (eg an unsecured WiFi network).

Other cookie-based attacks involve bad cookie settings on servers. If a website does not require the browser to use only encrypted channels, attackers can use this vulnerability to mislead browsers to send information via unsecured channels. Attackers then use the information for purposes of unauthorized access to certain sites. It is very important to be careful in choosing the most appropriate method of protecting personal information.

 

Tips for safe and responsible cookie-based navigation

 

Due to their flexibility and the fact that most of the most visited sites and the largest ones use cookies, they are almost inevitable. Disabling cookies will not allow the user access to the most popular and used sites including Youtube, Gmail, Yahoo and others.

Here are some tips that can help ensure that you navigate without worries with cookies:

Customize your browser settings for cookies to reflect a comfortable cookie-level for you.

If you do not mind cookies and you are the only person using your computer, you can set expiration dates to store your browsing history and personal data.

If you share access to your computer, you can consider setting your browser to delete individual browsing data each time you close your browser. This is a way of accessing sites that place cookies and deleting any visitor information at the end of the browsing session.

Install and constantly update antispyware applications.

Many of the applications for detecting and preventing spyware include detecting attacks on sites. This prevents the browser from accessing websites that could exploit browser vulnerabilities or download dangerous software.

Make sure your browser is always updated to the latest version.

Many of the cookie attacks are based on exploiting the weaknesses of the old versions of browsers.

Cookies are everywhere and can not be avoided if you want to enjoy access to the best and greatest websites on the Internet - local or international. With a clear understanding of how they work and the benefits they bring, you can take the necessary security measures so you can surf the Internet with confidence.

 

How do I stop cookies?

 

Disabling and refusing to receive cookies can make some sites difficult to visit and use. Also, refusing to accept cookies does not mean you will not receive/see online advertising anymore.

It is possible to set up in the browser so that these cookies are no longer supported or you can set the browser to accept cookies from a particular site. But for example, if you are not registered using cookies, you will not be able to leave comments.

All modern browsers offer the possibility to change cookie settings. These settings are usually found in your browser's "options" or "preferences" menu.

To understand these settings, the following links may be useful, otherwise you can use the browser's "help" option for more details.

  • Cookie settings (Internet Explorer)
  • Cookie settings (Firefox)
  • Cookie settings (Chrome)
  • Cookie settings (Safari)

For third-party cookie settings, you can also check the site http://www.youronlinechoices.com/ro/.

If you want to learn more about cookies and what they are used for, we recommend the following links:

  • Microsoft Cookies guide
  • All About Cookies

IAB Romania provides more privacy information related to online advertising on the following website: http://www.youronlinechoices.com/ro/.

For more privacy-related details, you can also access the following links:

  • youronlinechoices.eu/ro
  • http://www.iabeurope.eu/cookies-faq/internet-cookies—increasing-and-enhancing-yourinternet-surfing-experience/what-are-cookies-how-do-they-work—cookies-faq.aspx
  • http://www.guardian.co.uk/info/cookies 

 

 

 

 

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