Mmm.. Delicious Cookies

What are cookies?


Imad Baig

3/30/20232 min read

pastry beside ceramic mug
pastry beside ceramic mug

What are Cookies?

Cookies are a valuable tool for making online experiences more personalized and convenient, but they can also be targeted by cyber attackers looking to do damage. Cookies are small files stored on your device when you browse the internet. These files are used to remember user preferences, login information, and other website data.

What is a cookie-based attack?

Cookies by themselves are not inherently dangerous, but they can be exploited by cybercriminals if they are not properly secured.

When a cyber attacker gains access to your cookies, they can use them to steal your personal information, track your online activity, and even gain access to your accounts without needing your login credentials. This can lead to identity theft, financial loss, and reputational damage.

But don't worry - with some simple cyber hygiene best practices, you can protect yourself and your information from these threats.

How can cybercriminals gain access to passwords via cookies?

Cybercriminals can obtain access to passwords via cookies in several ways:

  1. Cookie theft: Cybercriminals can steal cookies by using techniques such as cross-site scripting (XSS) or phishing. This involves tricking the user into providing login information or executing malicious code, which can then steal the cookie information.

  2. Sniffing: Cybercriminals can use packet sniffing tools to intercept data as it is transmitted over the network. If the communication is not encrypted, the cookies can be intercepted, which will give the attacker access to the victim's account.

  3. Session hijacking: Cybercriminals can hijack an active user session by obtaining the session ID and inserting it into their own cookie. This allows them to assume the user's identity and gain access to their account.

Once the cybercriminal has obtained the victim's cookies, they can use them to log into the user's account without needing to know their password. This is why it is important to use secure connections (HTTPS), use strong passwords, and regularly clear browser cookies to prevent attackers from accessing your information.

How can anyone protect from cookie-based attacks?

Regularly clearing your browser cookies and cache can help reduce the risk of cookie-based attacks.

Here are more tips on how to protect yourself and sensitive information from cybercriminals:

  • ·       Using devices that run up-to-date software

  • ·       Using devices that are protected with anti-virus

  • ·       Use strong passwords for all logins

  • ·       Not sharing your passwords with others

  • ·       Using two-factor authentication when available

  • ·       Avoiding suspicious links and downloads