How Web Sites Use Cookies

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Web sites use cookies to preserve information between clicks on different links and different Web pages. Cookies are used to by Web sites to know what information to serve up to the user. Learn how cookies can become a security hazard, particularly with public computers, with information from a software developer in this free video on computer technology.

Part of the Video Series: Computer & Internet Technology
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Dave Andrews. Today I'm going to show you how websites use cookies. Let's go to our computer and I'll open up a website. I'm going to click on the Start button. Then we go to the Internet. Then what I'm going to do is, I'm going to log into Gmail. Which is Google's basic Internet mail service. Let's go to Gmail.com. I'm going to use this for my explanation. I'm going to login as my Email account here. Now I have just logged in to the Gmail website. Now what does that mean? I typed in my user name and my password. And instead of receiving Gmail's default page. Instead I've received this page right here. That has a listing of all my Emails. So how did Google know that I am logged in. As I travel between different pages. Let's say I click on settings here. Or I click on to see all the mail that I've sent. When I go back to my Inbox, it's still showing My Inbox. Which means I'm still logged in. This is done with a tool called Cookies. That websites use to persist information between you clicking on links and going to different pages. As I click on my Sent Mail right here. And I access a different page. The Cookie is remembering who I logged in as. That way the page will know what information to serve up. This is where Cookies can become a little bit of a security hazard. As let's say, that I'm using a public computer, what not. And I've logged into this website. I want to make sure when I'm done that I sign out. That will remove the Cookie that knows that I'm logged in as me. Otherwise if somebody clicks and opens up Gmail. It might automatically open up my web mail account. So I'm going to click Sign Out. Another tool that you can use to clear out Cookies for security. Just go to Tools. Then click on Internet Options. Then under Browsing History, click Delete. and then click on Delete Cookies. Now if I say Yes, that removes all the Cookies that are stored on this computer. My name is Dave Andrews. And I've just showed you what websites use Cookies for.

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