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December 5, 2019

What are Super Cookies and How Do You Protect Yourself From Them?

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There are dozens of varieties of cookies: chocolate chip, peanut butter, shortbread … and digital. A digital cookie, otherwise known as an HTTP cookie, is a small parcel of code that a website can store on your device. In many cases, this bit of code makes web browsing much more convenient. A cookie may store your login information so you don’t need to sign in to a website every time you visit it. It may also remember items in your shopping cart for you to return to later. In some cases, marketing companies can also use them to track you across websites, remembering your preferences and interests to show you tailored ads later, a situation that many internet users are uncomfortable with.

Fortunately, cookies are generally easy to avoid or remove. Unfortunately, a new variety of cookie, known as a super cookie, is becoming increasingly popular. They’re much sneakier and harder to avoid. What are super cookies and how do you protect yourself from them?

  • What is a super cookie?
  • Are they dangerous?
  • How do you prevent or delete them?

What is a Super Cookie?

The term “super cookie” is actually somewhat misleading because this type of technology is not actually a cookie at all. Rather than using local storage like regular cookies, they are stored on your network, by your internet service provider, as a “Unique Identifier Header” or UIDH. UIDHs collect personal data and can reveal that data to every website you visit. It may also allow third parties to track your internet activity. Super cookies can restore the data from a deleted normal cookie and can’t be blocked by ad blockers. They also can’t be easily deleted.

What Dangers Do They Present?

Once you can answer the question “what are super cookies,” you should also be aware of the dangers they present. At their core, a super cookie is designed to track internet users. The biggest threat they pose is that users are often unaware of their existence. Many internet service providers keep their use secret. They can also collect and reveal large amounts of information to every online website, and may even be able to track user activity within apps. Some companies behind super cookies also bypass device settings designed to limit ad tracking. This means the wishes of users regarding tracking are not adhered to.

What are Super Cookies and How Do You Prevent Them?

The biggest issue with super cookies is that, once a user knows they are present on their device, the process of removing them is quite difficult. Because of that, the best way to get around the use of super cookies is to avoid them entirely.

  • Opt Out: While many internet service providers hide their use of super cookies, there are some that may allow users to opt out of them. If this option is available to you, it’s the best way to stop the problem of tracking at its source.
  • Use HTTPS: HTTPS is a level of online encryption that hides activity between a user and a website from prying eyes. The same is true for super cookies. An HTTPS website will help you avoid super cookie tracking and can also help you prevent them in the first place.
  • Connect to a VPN: Another method of preventing super cookies from tracking you is to filter your web activity through a secure and private server. The easiest way to do that is to use a VPN, like HotBot VPN.

When an internet user can confidently answer the question “what are super cookies,” they’re more likely to be able to recognize and avoid them in future.

If you want to avoid super cookies and keep yourself safe, consider using HotBot VPN.

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