What Are “Managed Cookies”?

Have you ever visited a website, only to be hit by a notification bar asking you to “Accept Cookies?” 

Chances are, you’ve clicked whatever choice felt best at the time—probably, whatever option allowed you to get the pop-up out of your way!

But…what are managed cookies? 

In essence, cookies are small files that help websites remember things about you.

Managed cookies are cookies created, stored, and managed by a website’s server or third-party service provider. They’re typically used to improve user experience, provide personalized content, and track user behavior.

In some cases, managed cookies are essential for the proper functioning of a website; for example, they might make it so when you put an item in your e-shopping cart, it isn’t immediately forgotten. Managed cookies are also subject to privacy and security rules, which can help protect your information and keep it safe. So, when you see a website asking you to accept cookies, know that managed cookies are created by that website to make your visit more enjoyable and safe.

What are the four options associated with managed cookies?

There are four types of managed cookies—and no, they aren’t chocolate chip, peanut butter, snickerdoodle, and oatmeal raisin, and yes, that is the only cookie joke we’ll make. (Unless genius really strikes.)

Here’s what they all mean:

  1. Accept All Cookies: This option allows the website to store all types of cookies, including remembering your password to where your mouse moved on the page, and tracking how long you were there. 
  2. Accept Necessary Cookies Only: This option allows the website to store only cookies necessary for the website to function properly, such as login authentication.
  3. Decline All Cookies: This option does not allow the website to store any cookies on the user’s device. However, this may result in limited functionality and a less-than-ideal user experience. In some cases, this might mean you’re unable to view the website at all; in others, you might just have to reset your location or language preferences each time you revisit the site.
  4. Customize Settings: This option allows the user to choose which types of cookies they want to allow and which ones they want to block. 

So, what cookies option should you choose, for both cybersecurity and user experience? 

The Security Impact: 

Managed cookies can be used to store information such as your credentials (like your email and password combination), allowing you to stay logged into a website securely without having to enter your username and password every time you visit. This can help prevent phishing attacks, which occur when a malicious website or email attempts to trick you into entering your login information on a fake website. Because managed cookies are subject to privacy and security regulations, websites must follow specific rules when it comes to collecting and storing your data. 

TL;DR: Managed cookies help ensure your personal information is not misused or shared without your consent.

The Preferences Impact: 

Managed cookies can be used to store information about your personal preferences on a specific website. This might include your preferred language or currency, but it could also include accessibility preferences, and even just save information you don’t want to have to re-enter every time you access a website. All this stored information can save users time and effort, and provide a frictionless experience.

TL;DR: Managed cookies help store your preferences, such as language, passwords, and products, on a given website. 

Are there drawbacks to accepting managed cookies? 

The short answer is—that’s up to you. Managed cookies can be used for targeted advertising, which makes some users uncomfortable or feel as if their privacy is being violated. Then again, some folks like targeted ads and feel their online experience is improved because sites know them so well. 

When it comes to security, the answer is also twofold; while stored credentials can help prevent phishing attacks, your data is still being stored by a third-party website. The more websites that store your information, the greater the chance that you’ll be part of a breach. The best tactic to avoid any repercussions is to stop reusing the same password across all of your accounts—it makes managed cookies even more useful and helps you avoid getting hacked because someone knows your set of credentials. Instead, choose a password manager like LastPass to keep your passwords secure.

If you made it to the end of this page, we have just one thing to say: you deserve a cookie! 🍪