Definition: Cookies are small files that are created by on web site and written and stored on your computer.  Specifically, if the recipient of a web-based message has the "cookie service" enabled, the contacted site has the capability of generating and sending a string (text) that is received and stored by the recipient’s computer system. Such a file can contain information that is needed for identification purposes and for the browser session to run more smoothly and more. By definition, a text file that can associate and report a recipient’s activity is spyware. Organizations should address the matter in the formation of security policies.

Its Relevance: The text file that is written to a recipient’s computer can be legitimately used for identification purposes (i.e. to identify you as a legitimate user of a national newspaper).  Cookies can help the contacted web site how you "use" their site.  The infrastructure owner must decide whether cookies should be enabled to allow the writing of these special tracking files or disabled to block them.

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