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Cybersafe June 01, 2020

What are Cookies?

“This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.”

Any person who has ever visited a website must have encountered a message like this before, but few understand or even know what these cookies are.

What are cookies?

Cookies are small text files used to track your activity on a website. They are built to recognize you, whenever you visit, exit, or return to a website. Cookies are usually used to make browsing easier for us, and to customize our experience on a website to our preferences.

What can cookies do?

Some examples of what cookies do for us include:

  • Storing log-in details
  • Keeping items in online shopping carts for later
  • Adjusting the screen according to preferred settings
  • Remembering what content has been read or seen previously

What’s the danger with cookies?

Some cookies (usually created by a third-party outside the website you are visiting, like advertisers) track your habits while browsing. How long do you stay on a website? What did you click? Tracking cookies answers these kinds of questions, so they’re valuable for market research.

Seemingly harmless as they are, the use of tracking cookies is generally considered to be an invasion of privacy, since you didn’t consent to a third-party monitoring your movements.

What can I do about my cookies?

Cookies do expire and are automatically deleted after some time, but you can delete them regularly if you’d prefer to keep your browsing private. It may take additional work (imagine logging in everywhere again), but to protect your privacy, it’s best to go the extra mile.

This article is part of the Banker’s Association of the Philippines’ (BAP) #CyberSafe campaign, where the BAP aims to promote awareness towards cybersecurity. As part of the campaign, new posts will be uploaded every Wednesday and Sunday, tackling common web security questions and issues.


For more content on cybersecurity, visit the BAP Official YouTube channel.