C is for Cookie, and while we wish it was chocolate chip flavored, cookies online aren’t quite as delicious as your favorite treat. You’ve probably heard, “Beware of cookies, they can cost you money!” And while it’s kind of true, Cookies don’t carry as much weight as many people think when it comes to how much you pay for things. The top questions asked about cookies are: Do browser cookies increase prices? And Should I clear cookies when searching for flights?
While getting the best deals on flights or other consumer goods are important, what’s more important is your security online. While there’s often more obvious things to look for in dangerous apps, Cookies are silently keeping track of your data with no easy way to see what data they have. While the main purpose of cookies is to be able to target your ad experiences, there are some malicious trackers as well. Let’s walk through a few of the top questions people asked about the cookies in their lives.
Are cookies ever a good thing?
Yes! Cookies give you more targeted ads which can actually lead you to discover items you didn’t know you needed. If you’re ever online shopping and need to leave a site before purchasing, cookies allow you to go back to your shopping cart without having to add everything back to your cart. While these First-party cookies allow for a better website experience, Third-party cookies can be a little more concerning. Third-party cookies are tracking your overall web session and can easily be hacked to track more information about your internet browsing and purchasing habits.
Do cookies affect prices?
The simple answer is no. But also yes. Cookies can’t directly increase the price of your flight or other shopping. Now you might be thinking, “but I’ve seen my airline ticket increase after I searched for it a few times!” Well, this is more about supply and demand than your cookies specifically. The more airlines see a flight is searched for, bought, or the closer it gets to the day of departure the prices will naturally go up. Clearing your cookies won’t necessarily change how likely it is for a price to change, but if you’re really worried, search in an incognito browser. This way, you can be sure no one is tracking your search habits. Just be warned, you’ll have to enter in all your usernames and passwords by hand as they aren’t saved in an incognito browser.
What happens when you clear cookies and site data?
When you clear your cookies and site data, you’re getting rid of any website tracking that’s being done on your web browser. This includes clearing any saved usernames and passwords on a website, any shopping cart items you may have, as well as any data a website has been tracking. What effect does clearing cookies have? Clearing your cookies essentially gets all your cookie tracking friends off of your computer. If you are ever using a public computer, always clear your cookies after use. You never know who will be accessing that computer or who could have hacked it already.
You should clear your cookies about once a month to get rid of any malicious trackers. Worried about having to reset passwords that you don’t remember? Try using a safe password manager like 1Password. Before using any type of password manager DO YOUR RESEARCH! Having passwords hacked can be a major security issue for you and your family.
All in all, cookies have done a lot to better your user experience when it comes to advertising. Are they kind of intrusive and slightly annoying? Yes. But you don’t have to be afraid of them as long as you understand what they’re doing. Just don’t forget to keep yourself safe online and clear your cookies!