I looked for a product and now advertising appears on several sites. Do you know what cookies are?

Everyone has heard that companies track everything we see on the internet and use it to target us with advertisements. But do you know how this works?

For this understanding, 1st, we need to understand what cookies are, which are nothing more than data generated by web servers and stored on our computers. Cookies are sent to your browser when you access certain information and contain unique identifiers that allow servers to “remember” each user.

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For example, when a user logs into a social network and clicks to integrate some other service, if cookies were not stored in their browser, that user would have to add the credentials again.

Even this part is all right and the good news is that each company's cookies can't be shared, so each cookie generated should only harvest the information stored there, but then there's the bad news: that's not quite how it works.

Sites like Facebook, for example, have the button like, which can be added on other websites, such as an online store, for example. By adding this button from like in your store the browser needs to download some code from the servers of the Facebook and when talking to the Facebook sends the generated cookie together, sending it to the Facebook who you are, what you liked, what you visited, what you bought… And then depending on which sites also have this connection, they start bombarding you with the information gathered there.

Another site that also uses this feature a lot and finds it easy to gather this information is the Google, as many companies use the tool ads that share this type of cookies, in this case taking a proportion that gets out of control.

Doing a quick search, we found the company behind Yahoo mentioning the use of over 455 third-party cookies on their website, meaning their stored data may be being shared with many companies. Of course, not all cookies are used for targeted advertising or information tracking, there are cookies that fulfill their real function: to improve the experience of using the website, simply carrying out integrations and reducing users' work.

And Gabi, can I protect myself or have control over this?

1st tip is to install extenders that block the use of cookies, choose carefully and start to know what is being blocked.

2nd tip is to use browsers that have these blockers by default.

3rd tip and essential: LGPD is in your favor. It is by law the obligation of websites to inform users about the use of cookies in navigation, as well as the user's ability to deny this use. Cookies can also only be accessed by servers of the same domain, and sharing with third parties is not allowed as they are personal data. So stay tuned, usually (and from now on more and more) when you access a website, a message like the one below will appear, asking you to accept the use of cookies or having the possibility to manage them:

The Terms of Use for these cookies must also be clear and accessible, as in the LinkedIn:

References:

https://www.linkedin.com/legal/l/cookie-table
http://browsercookielimits.squawky.net/

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Gabriela Salles
I am a Computer Engineer, specialist and awareness of Blue Team. Certified by Microsoft, IBM, Itcerts, CertiProf and Exin, I also have French and English as differentials.
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