COOKIES USE POLICY AND INFORMATION REGARDING COOKIES DEACTIVATION AND REFUSE
What is a cookie?

Cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that is stored on any terminal with internet access issued by a web-server to a browser (eg Internet Explorer, Chrome).

Please note: Cookies do not contain software, viruses or spyware, and can not access the information on the user’s hard drive. Cookies do not require personal information and do not personally identify Internet users.

A cookie is made up of name and content, the duration of which is determined, and can be accessed again by the web server when a user returns to the website associated with the respective web-server.

What are the benefits of cookies?

A cookie contains information linking users to a particular website. If a browser accesses that web-server again, it can read the already stored information and react accordingly. Cookies provide users with a good browsing experience and support the efforts of many websites to provide user-friendly services. Example: Online privacy preferences, site language options, shopping carts, or relevant advertising.

Cookies are categorized as:

1. Session Cookies – these are temporarily stored in the browser’s history that stores them until the user exits the site or closes the browser window.

2. Persistent cookies – These are stored, according to the preset time, on the hard drive of a computer or equipment. Persistent cookies include those placed on a website other than the one the user is currently visiting – known as “third party cookies” – that can be used anonymously to store a user’s interests, so so that advertising is delivered as relevant as possible to users.

What is the lifetime of a cookie?

The life of a cookie may be different depending on the purpose for which it is placed. There are cookies used exclusively for one session – they are no longer retained after the user leaves the website. Permanent cookies are retained and reused whenever the user returns to that website, but can be deleted at any time by the user.

What are cookies placed by third parties?

Certain parts of content on certain sites may be placed on the website accessed by third parties through banners, boxes or links – and all of these tools may contain cookies. They are called “third party cookies” because they are not placed by the owner of that website, and third-party vendors are subject to the laws and privacy policies of the site owner.

How cookies are used by this site

A visit to this site may place cookies for purposes of:

Site performance cookies
Visitor analysis cookies
Cookies for geotargetting
Recording cookies
Cookies for advertising
Advertiser cookies

What type of information is stored and accessed through cookies?

Cookies keep information in a small text file that allows a website to recognize a browser. The web server will recognize the browser until the cookie expires or is deleted. The cookie stores important information that enhances Internet browsing experience (eg setting the language of a site, keeping a user logged in to the webmail account, online banking security, keeping your products in the shopping cart).

Why are Internet cookies important?

Cookies are the central point of the efficient Internet, helping to generate a friendly browsing experience and tailored to the preferences and interests of each user. Denying or disabling cookies can make some sites impossible to use.

Denying or disabling cookies does not mean you will not receive online advertising – just that it will no longer be able to keep track of your preferences and interests highlighted by your browsing behavior.

Examples of important uses of cookies (which do not require authentication of a user through an account):

Content and services tailored to user preferences – news, weather, sports, maps, public and governmental services, entertainment sites and travel services.
Offers tailored to users’ interests – remembering passwords, language preferences (Ex: displaying search results in English).
Retrieve Child Protection Filters for Content on the Internet (Family Mode Options, Safe Search Functions)
Limit ad serving frequency – limit the number of impressions of an ad for a particular user on a site.
Providing more relevant advertising to the user.
Measurement, optimization, and analytics features – such as confirming a certain level of traffic on a website, what kind of content is viewed, and how a user gets to a website (ex. through search engines, directly from other websites etc.). Websites run these analyzes of their use to improve sites for the benefit of users.

Security and privacy issues

Cookies are NOT Viruses! They use plain text formats. They are not made up of pieces of code so they can not be executed or can auto-run. Consequently, they can not duplicate or replicate on other networks to run or replicate again. Because they can not perform these functions, they can not be considered viruses.

Cookies can still be used for negative purposes. Because it stores information about user preferences and browsing history, both on a particular site and on several other sites, cookies can be used as a form of Spyware. Many anti-spyware products are aware of this and consistently mark cookies to be deleted in anti-virus / anti-spyware removal / scanning procedures.

In general, browsers have built-in privacy settings that provide different levels of cookie acceptance, shelf life, and automatic deletion after the user has visited a particular site.

Other security issues related to cookies

Because identity protection is very valuable and is the right of every internet user, it is advisable to know what problems can create cookies. In order to transmit constant information in both ways between the browser and the website, if an attacker or unauthorized person intervenes during the data transmission, the information contained in the cookie can be intercepted. Although very rarely, this can happen if the browser connects to the server using an unencrypted network (eg an unsecured WiFi network).

Other cookie-based attacks involve bad cookie settings on servers. If a website does not require the browser to use only encrypted channels, attackers can use this vulnerability to prevent browsers from sending information through insecure channels. Attackers then use the information for unauthorized access to certain sites. It is very important to be careful in choosing the most appropriate method of protecting personal information.

Tips for safe and responsible cookie-based navigation

Due to their flexibility and the fact that most of the most visited sites and the largest ones use cookies, they are almost inevitable. Disabling cookies will not allow the user to access the most popular and used sites including Youtube, Gmail, Yahoo and others. Here are a few tips that can help you navigate without worries with cookies:

Customize your browser settings for cookies to reflect a comfortable level of cookie security. If you do not mind cookies and you are the only person using your computer, you can set expiration dates to store your browsing history and personal data. If you share your computer access, you can consider the browser setting to delete individual browsing data each time you close your browser. This is a way to access sites that place cookies and to delete any visitor information at the end of the session.

Install and constantly update your antispyware applications. Many of the applications for detection and prevention of spyware include the detection of attacks on sites. This will prevent your browser from accessing websites that could exploit browser vulnerabilities or download dangerous software.

Make sure your browser is always up-to-date. Many of the cookies attacks are exploited by exploiting the weaknesses of the old versions of browsers.

Cookies are everywhere and can not be avoided if you want to enjoy access to the best and greatest websites on the Internet – local or international. With a clear understanding of how they work and the benefits they bring, you can take the necessary security measures so you can browse with confidence on the internet.

Disabling and declining cookies

Users can set their browser to reject cookies. Disabling and refusing to receive cookies can make certain sections / pages unfeasible or difficult to visit and use.

Also, refusing to accept cookies does not mean you will not receive / see online advertising anymore.

All current browsers offer the ability to change cookie settings. These settings are usually found in your browser’s “options” or “preferences” menu.

For third-party cookie settings, and for more information on behavioral online advertising (delivered on the basis of user interests) and online privacy, we recommend using the www.youronlinechoices.com.

If you want to know more about cookies and understand these settings, the following links may be useful:

All About Cookies
Cookie settings in Microsoft Edge
Cookie settings in Firefox
Cookie settings in Chrome
Cookie settings in Safari

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