A cookie is a small file, often encrypted, which allow a website to recognise a user’s device. It is typically made up of letters and numbers and is downloaded on to your device when you access a website.
Cookies are generally used to help users navigate websites more efficiently and perform certain functions. Since their core role is to enhance usability and improve processes, if you disable cookies you may find that the website does not perform as well as you would expect.
When you load a particular website, a cookie is created. Every time you then revisit that specific website, the browser retrieves and sends this file to the website’s server. Computer Cookies are also being created by other websites when ads, plug-ins, widgets, or other elements on the page are being loaded. These cookies regulate how the ads appear or how the widgets and other elements function on the page.
For more information see: http://www.allaboutcookies.org/
Some Cookies will expire at the end of a browser session, while other are stored for longer. Types of cookies include:
Session cookies – these cookies are the ones which allow websites to track the various actions of a user during a browser session. They have a variety of purposes. For example, a session cookie would be working when the website you are visiting remembers what you have put in your shopping basket. Session cookies generally expire after a browser session ends.
Persistent cookies – these cookies are stored on your device between browser sessions. This is useful because it enables the preferences/actions of the user to be remembered across a website. Persistent cookies are also used for a variety of purposes, however they are most famous for being used by a website to perform target advertising.
First and third party cookies – first party cookies are the cookies which are set by a specific website visited by the user. Third party cookies are set by a domain which is not the one being visited by the user. For example, if you visit a website and a separate company has set a cookie through that website this would be a third party cookie.
SLA use a mixture of session, permanent and third party cookies. None of which store your personal information.
Cookies are not computer viruses, they cannot be executed nor are they self-executing, they also cannot replicate and spread to other networks to execute. Since they cannot perform these functions, they fall outside the standard definition of a virus.
It is recommended that you backup your computer if you would like peace of mind that your files are safe.