Supercookies and what should each Internet user know about them
If you’re an experienced Internet user, you have surely heard about cookies. But what are supercookies? Are they better? Is there something that you should know about? How do supercookies affect your privacy? Let’s delve deeper to find all the answers that you’re looking for?
Cookies — let’s start with the basic definition
Every time you visit a website with the help of the browser, a small piece of code is left in it. This piece is called an HTTP cookie and is needed so that when you visit the site again, it identifies you.
Do not immediately think that this entails extremely negative consequences. Initially, cookies are needed to improve the user experience. What can this file contain? Information such as:
- date and time of your last visit;
- your data that you used when registering;
- your shopping cart contents, etc.
Thus, if you return to a site where you have already been, you do not have to provide this data again.
But there is also a second side to the coin. Cookies can also be used by companies to research your interests and offer you relevant advertising. Those users who care about your anonymity and privacy, you won’t like it. This is why the law suggests that most websites should always notify users that they are saving cookies. And you can agree with this or stop using this website.
Now you understand what cookies are and why they are needed. But how are they different from supercookies?
Cookies and supercookies — what is the difference?
The first thing you should know is that the name is misleading, and supercookies are not some kind of cookie. Here’s what is known about these files:
- Instead of using local storage, supercookies are introduced as UIDH (Unique Identifier Headers) at the network level.
- If cookies are inserted by the website itself, then supercookies are inserted by your ISP.
- Nobody asks you for consent, and therefore you may not even suspect about super cookies.
- Personal data can theoretically be disclosed and sold.
- Super Cookies also help third parties track your online activity. for advertising and other purposes.
- If you delete your cookies, supercookies can restore them.
- Your cache files, credentials, and other information are not safe because supercookies can access them.
If you think you can get rid of supercookies or block them, for example, with an ad blocker or clear cache, you are wrong. You cannot opt-out until your ISP allows it.
Is it bad to track cookies?
This is not to say that cookies harm your device. They are not viruses, malware programs, and so on. However, even if your smartphone or laptop is safe, your privacy is still at risk, and many users find it more dangerous.
Your ISP can collect your data using cookies and sell it to other companies. The worst part is that you cannot control it, and no one will be held responsible if sensitive information will leak. You should also be wary of hackers and government surveillance.
How can you protect yourself from tracking cookies?
As you already understood, super cookies are not files that you can delete. Even if you use incognito mode and regularly clean your cache, it does not make you more secure. So what can you do? First, you can only visit HTTPS websites that use trusted certificates and protect you from cookie tracking. HTTP websites don’t use SSL and TLS, and they are less reliable.
But if you need a really reliable solution and you don’t want to check all sites, use a VPN, such as a VeePN. This is an application that encrypts your internet connection, and even if super cookies follow you, the ISP will not be able to access your personal information. Protect yourself with a reliable VPN tool, and don’t worry about leaks, breaches, and any other issues.