<h5 class=”dlab-title m-t0″>What is a Cookie?</h5>
A cookie is a small data file that a website associates with its visitors to facilitate its optimal functioning, efficiency, and security. Cookies are installed through requests sent by a server to an internet browser (e.g., Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome). These files do not contain software programs, viruses, or spyware and cannot access the information stored on the device’s hard drive. Cookie files do not request personal information to be used and, in most cases, do not personally identify internet users. The lifespan of cookie files can vary significantly, depending on their intended purpose. Users can delete cookie files at any time through their browser settings.
Cookies themselves do not request personal information to be used, and in most cases, they do not identify internet users personally.
<strong>There are two main categories of cookies:</strong>
– Session cookies: These are stored temporarily in the web browser’s cookie folder for the browser to remember them until the user exits the respective website or closes the browser window (e.g., when logging in or out of a webmail account or social media networks).
– Persistent cookies: These are stored on a computer or device’s hard drive (usually depending on the preset cookie lifespan). Persistent cookies also include those placed by a website other than the one the user is visiting at that time, known as ‘third-party cookies,’ which can be used anonymously to remember a user’s interests to deliver more relevant advertising.
<strong>What are the advantages of cookies?</strong>
A cookie contains information that links a web browser (the user) to a specific web server (the website). When a browser accesses that web server again, it can read the information already stored and react accordingly. Cookies provide users with a pleasant browsing experience and support the efforts of many websites to offer comfortable services to users. Examples include privacy preferences online, language preferences, shopping carts, or relevant advertising.
<strong>What is the lifespan of a cookie?</strong>
Cookies are managed by web servers. The lifespan of a cookie can vary significantly, depending on its intended purpose. Some cookies are used exclusively for a single session (session cookies) and are not retained once the user leaves the website. Others are retained and reused each time the user returns to that website (persistent cookies). However, users can delete cookies at any time through their browser settings.
<strong>What are third-party cookies?</strong>
Certain content sections on some websites may be provided by third parties/providers (e.g., news boxes, videos, or advertisements). These third parties can also place cookies through the website, referred to as “third-party cookies” because they are not placed by the owner of the respective website. Third-party providers must also comply with the current law and the Privacy Policies of the website owner.
<strong>How are cookies used by this site?</strong>
A visit to this site may place cookies for the following purposes:
  <li><strong>Site performance cookies;</strong></li>
This type of cookie retains the user’s preferences on this site, so there is no need to set them each time the site is visited. Examples include volume settings for video players and the video streaming speed compatible with the browser.
  <li><strong>Visitor analytics cookies;</strong></li>
Every time a user visits this site, the analytics software provided by a third party generates a visitor analytics cookie. This cookie tells us whether you have visited this site before. The browser will tell us if you have this cookie, and if not, we will generate one. It allows us to track the unique users who visit us and how often they do so.
As long as you are not registered on this site, this cookie cannot be used to identify individuals; it is used solely for statistical purposes. If you are registered, we can also know the details you have provided, such as your email address and username – these are subject to confidentiality and the provisions of the <a href=””>Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policy</a>, as well as the current legislation on the protection of personal data.
  <li><strong>Geotargeting cookies;</strong></li>
These cookies are used by software that determines which country you are from. It is completely anonymous and is used only to target content – even when you are on our site in Romanian or another language, you receive the same advertisement.
  <li><strong>Registration cookies;</strong></li>
When you register on this site, we generate a cookie that notifies us whether you are registered or not. Our servers use these cookies to show us the account you are registered with and whether you have permission for a specific service. It also allows us to associate any comments you post on our site with your username. If you did not select “keep me logged in,” this cookie will be automatically deleted when you close your browser or computer.
  <li><strong>Advertising cookies;</strong></li>
These cookies allow us to determine whether you have seen an online advertisement, its type, and how long it has been since you saw the advertising message. We also use these cookies to target online advertising. We may also use third-party cookies for better advertising targeting, showing, for example, vacation ads if the user has recently visited an article about vacations on the site. These cookies are anonymous; they store information about the content viewed, not the users. We also set anonymous cookies on other sites that have our advertising. By receiving them, we can recognize you as a user of that site if you later visit our site, allowing us to deliver advertising based on this information.
  <li><strong>Other third-party cookies</strong></li>
On some pages, third parties may set their anonymous cookies for the purpose of tracking the success of an application or customizing an application. Due to their usage, this site cannot access these cookies, just as third parties cannot access the cookies owned by this site. For example, when you share an article using the social media button on this site, that social network will record your activity.
<strong>What type of information is stored and accessed through cookies?</strong>
Cookies store information in a small text file that allows a website to recognize a browser. The web server will recognize the browser until the cookie expires or is deleted. The cookie stores important information that enhances the internet browsing experience (e.g., language settings, staying logged in to a webmail account, online banking security, retaining products in the shopping cart).
<strong>Why are cookies important for the internet?</strong>
Cookies are at the core of the efficient functioning of the internet, helping generate a user-friendly browsing experience tailored to each user’s preferences and interests. Rejecting or disabling cookies can make some websites impractical or difficult to visit. Rejecting or disabling cookies does not mean that you will no longer receive online advertising, but rather that it will not take into account your preferences and interests highlighted by your browsing behavior.
Examples of important uses of cookies (which do not require a user to authenticate through an account):
  <li>Content and services tailored to user preferences – news categories, weather, sports, maps, public and governmental services, entertainment websites, and travel services.</li>
  <li>Offers tailored to user interests – remembering passwords, language preferences (e.g., displaying search results in Romanian).</li>
<li>Retaining child protection filters regarding internet content (family mode options, safe search functions).</li>
  <li>Limiting the frequency of advertising displays – limiting the number of times a specific user sees an ad on a website.</li>
  <li>Providing more relevant advertising to users.</li>
  <li>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 arrives at a website (e.g., through search engines, direct, from other websites, etc.). Websites use these usage analytics to improve the user experience.</li>
<strong>Security and privacy issues related to cookies</strong>
Cookies are NOT viruses! They use plain text formats. They are not made up of code pieces, so they cannot be executed or self-run. Therefore, they cannot duplicate or replicate themselves on other networks to run or replicate again. Since they cannot perform these functions, they cannot be considered viruses. However, cookies can be used for negative purposes. Because they store information about user preferences and browsing history, both on a specific site and on multiple other sites, cookies can be used as a form of spyware. Many anti-spyware products are aware of this and consistently mark cookies for deletion during virus/spyware scanning/removal procedures. In general, browsers have built-in privacy settings that offer different levels of cookie acceptance, lifespan, and automatic deletion after the user visits a specific website.
<strong>Other security aspects related to cookies</strong>
Because identity protection is highly valuable and represents the right of every internet user, it is advisable to be aware of the potential problems that cookies can create. Since they constantly transmit information in both directions between the browser and the website, if an attacker or unauthorized person intervenes in the data transmission process, 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 (e.g., an unsecured WiFi network).
Other cookie-based attacks involve incorrect cookie settings on servers. If a website does not ask the browser to use only encrypted channels, attackers can use this vulnerability to deceive browsers into sending information through unsecured channels. Attackers then use this information to gain unauthorized access to certain sites. It is essential to choose the most appropriate method of protecting personal information.
<strong>Tips for safe and responsible browsing based on cookies</strong>
Due to their flexibility and the fact that most of the most visited and largest websites use cookies, they are almost inevitable. Disabling cookies may make some websites impractical or difficult to use. Rejecting or disabling cookies does not mean that you will no longer receive/see online advertising. It is possible to configure your browser to no longer accept these cookies, or you can set your browser to accept cookies from a specific website. However, for example, if you are not registered using cookies, you will not be able to leave comments. All modern browsers offer the ability to change cookie settings. These settings are typically found in the “options” or “preferences” menu of your browser.
To understand these settings, the following links may be useful, or you can use your browser’s “help” option for more details.