Please read carefully the information below:
This website uses its own cookies, as well as third-party cookies in order to provide the users with a much better navigation experience and services that are adapted to each user’s needs and interest.
In what is called the “web 2.0”, cookies play an important role in facilitating access and delivering the multiple services the user benefits from when navigating the internet, among which:
• Cookies help customize certain settings such as: the language of a website, the currency used to show certain prices or fees, remembering the settings for certain products;
• Cookies provide website owners with valuable feedback on how their website is used by its visitors, so that they can make them even more efficient and accessible for the user;
• Cookies allow multimedia content or other types of applications from different websites to be included on a certain webpage, thus creating a more valuable, more useful and more enjoyable navigation experience;
• Cookies improve the efficiency of online advertising.
What is a “cookie”?
An “Internet Cookie” (also known as a “browser cookie”, “HTTP cookie” or simply as “cookie”) is a small-size file, composed of letters and figures, that will be stored on the computer, mobile device or any other type of equipment on which the user can access the internet.
The cookie is installed through a request issued by a web-server to a browser (e.g.: Internet Explorer, Chrome) and it is completely “passive” (it does not contain software programs, viruses or spyware and it cannot access the data on the user’s hard drive).
A cookie is made up of 2 elements: the name and the content or value of the cookie. Moreover, the life span of a cookie is determined; from a technical standpoint, only the webserver that sent the cookie can access it again, when the user returns to the website associated with the webserver in question.
On their own, cookies do not request personal data in order to be used and, in most cases, they do not identify internet users individually.
Cookies can be grouped into 2 main categories:
• Session cookies – they are temporarily stored in the browser’s cookie folder so that it can memorize them until the user leaves the website or closes the browser window (e.g.: when the user logs in/out of their e-mail or social media account).
• Persistent cookies – These are stored on the hard drive on the computer or another type of device (generally, they depend on the cookie’s predetermined life span). Persistent cookies include those placed by a different website than the website visited by the user at that moment – they are also known as third-party cookies – these can be used anonymously to memorize a user’s interests, in order to deliver advertisements that are as relevant as possible.
What are the advantages of using cookies?
A cookie contains information that links a web browser (the user) and a certain webserver (the website). When a web browser accesses the webserver again, it can already read the information that was previously stored and react accordingly. Cookies ensure an enjoyable browsing experience for the user and they support the efforts made by websites to offer comfortable services to their users: e.g. online privacy preferences, language settings, shopping carts and relevant advertisements.
What is the life span of a cookie?
Cookies are managed by webservers. The life span of a cookie can vary drastically, depending on the purpose it serves. Some cookies are used for a single session (session cookies) and they are not remembered once the user has left the website, whilst other cookies are remembered and reused each time the user revisits the website (permanent cookies). Nonetheless, cookies can be deleted by the user at any moment in the browser’s settings.
What are third-party cookies?
Some content sections on certain websites can be provided by third-parties or suppliers (e.g.: news box, a video or an ad). These third-parties can also place cookies through the website. These are known as third-party cookies, as they are not placed by the website owner. Third-party providers also have to abide by the current legal provisions and by the privacy policies enforced by the website owner.
During a visit on this website, cookies can be placed for the following purposes:
• Website performance cookies
• User analysis cookies
• Geotargeting cookies
• Advertising cookies
• Ad provider cookies
These cookies can be placed by the following third-parties: Google, Facebook, SATI, Httpool, SPA.
This type of cookie remembers the user’s preferences regarding the website. As such, the settings do not have to be repeated for each visit.
User analysis cookies
Every time a user visits this website, the analytics software provided by a third-party generates a user analysis cookie. This cookie informs us if you have visited this website before. The browser tells us whether you have this cookie, and if you do not, we will generate it. This allows us to monitor the unique users who visit the website and how often they do it. This cookie cannot be used in order to identify natural persons, it only serves a statistical purpose.
These cookies are used by a software that determines your country of origin. It is completely anonymous and it is used only to target the content – even when you visit our page in English or other languages, you will be shown the same ad.
These cookies allow us to find out if you have already been shown an online ad, the type of ad and how long it has been since the ad was shown to you. These cookies are also used to target online advertising. Moreover, we can use third-party cookies for better ad targeting, to show ads for a certain type of service, for instance, if the user recently visited an article regarding that type of service. These cookies are anonymous and they store data about the content you have viewed, not about the user. Moreover, we place anonymous cookies on other websites where we have ads. As such, we can recognize you as a visitor of that website later, if you visit our website. We will then be able to deliver ads based on this data.
Ad provider cookies
A significant portion of the ads you see on this website belongs to third-parties. Some of these parties use their own anonymous cookies to analyze how many users have been shown an ad or to see how many users have viewed a specific ad multiple times. The companies that generate these cookies have their own privacy policies and this website does not have access to read or write these cookies. Third-party cookies can also be used to show you targeted ads on other websites, based on your visit to this website.
Other third-party cookies
On some pages, third-parties can place their own anonymous cookies in order to follow the success of an app or to customize it. Because of the way they function, this website cannot access those cookies, just like other websites cannot access cookies owned by this website. For instance, when you share an article using the social media button on this website, the social network will register your activity.
What type of data is stored and accessed through cookies?
Cookies store data in a small-size text file which allows a website to recognize a browser. The webserver will recognize the browser until the cookie expires or is deleted. Cookies store important data that improve the web browsing experience (e.g.: language settings for a specific website, keeping an e-mail account logged in).
Why are cookies important for the Internet?
Cookies represent the pivotal point in the efficient functioning of the Internet, helping to generate a friendly browsing experience that is adapted to the preferences and interests of each user. Rejecting or deactivating cookies can render some websites impossible to use. Rejecting or deactivating cookies does not imply that you will no longer receive online advertising – it simply means that your preferences and interests determined by your browsing behavior will not be taken into account.
Examples of important uses of cookies (which do not entail the necessity of logging into a user account):
• Content and services adapted to the user’s preferences – news categories, maps, public and government services or entertainment websites.
• Offers adapted to user interests – remembering passwords, language preferences (e.g.: showing search results in English).
• Remembering parental control filters for Internet content (family mode options, safe search functions).
• Limiting the frequency of ads – limiting the number of times an ad is shown to a user on a website.
• Providing advertising that is more relevant for the user.
• Measurements, optimization and analytics characteristics – such as: confirming a certain level of traffic on a website, the type of content that is viewed and how a user finds a website (e.g. via search engines, directly, from other websites, etc.). Websites carry out these usage analyses to improve their performance to the user’s benefit.
Security and problems regarding privacy
Cookies are NOT viruses! They use plain text formats. They are not made up of code sequences, so they cannot be executed or autorun. Therefore, they cannot duplicate or replicate on other networks in order to run and replicate again. Given that they cannot perform these functions, they cannot be considered viruses. However, cookies can still be used for negative purposes. Since they store data about user preferences and browsing history, both on a specific website and on other websites, cookies can be used as a form of spyware. Many anti-spyware solutions are aware of this and, as such, they constantly mark cookies for deletion during antivirus/anti-spyware deletion or scanning procedures.
Generally, browsers have built-in privacy settings that provide various levels for accepting cookies, their life span, and automatic deletion after a user visited a certain website.
Given that the protection of personal identity is valuable and it is the right of every Internet user, it is important to be aware of the possible problems that can arise from using cookies. Since they are used to constantly send data bilaterally, to/from the browser and the website, a hacker or an unauthorized person interfering in the transfer process can intercept the data contained in the cookie. Even though this is a rare occurrence, it can happen when the browser connects to the server using an unencrypted network (e.g.: an unsecured WiFi network).
Other cookie-based attacks entail inadequate cookie settings on servers. If a website does not request the browser to use only the encrypted channels, hackers can use this weak spot to trick browsers into sending information through unsecured channels. Then, hackers use the data to gain unauthorized access to some websites. It is very important to be careful when selecting the best method of protecting personal data.
Advice for safe and responsible cookie-based browsing
Due to their flexibility and the fact that the majority of the most visited and biggest websites use them, cookies are almost unavoidable.
Here is some advice on how to make sure you are browsing safely while still using cookies:
• Customize your browser settings regarding cookies so that they reflect a level of cookie safety that is comfortable for you.
• If cookies are not a problem for you and you are the sole user of the computer, you can set long expiration dates for storing browsing history and personal access data.
• If you share a computer, you can consider setting up the browser to delete the individual browsing data every time you close the browser window. This is a way to visit websites that place cookies, while allowing all information regarding your visit to be deleted when the browsing session ends.
• Install anti-spyware software.
Many spyware detection and prevention apps also detect attacks coming from websites. Make sure your browser is always up to date. Many cookie-based attacks are carried out by exploiting the weak spots of old browser versions.
Cookies are everywhere and cannot be avoided if you want to enjoy access to the best and biggest local and international websites. With a clear understanding of the way they operate and the benefits they provide, you can take the necessary safety measures in order to browse the web with confidence.
How can I turn off cookies?
Deactivating and rejecting cookies can render some websites impractical or difficult to visit and use. Moreover, refusing cookies does not mean you will stop receiving/seeing online advertisements.
You can configure your browser to reject these cookies, or you can set up your browser to accept cookies from a specific website.
All modern browsers allow you to change cookie settings. Usually, these settings can be found in your browser’s Options or Preferences menu.