First-party Cookie

First-party cookies are small text files that collect user data, including login details and browser settings, every time they use the web. The function of cookies is to log data required to help users access previously visited sites much quicker.

It can track the user’s online behavior and use it to map out the browsing preferences and interests — often creating a database containing both to create a smoother internet experience. But in the event that the user accidentally or knowingly allows the cookie to retain the gathered data, cybercriminals can then use the data for nefarious purposes. 

How do cybercriminals abuse first-party cookies?

  • Malvertising: Attackers often use first-party cookies in malicious ad campaigns that infect the target’s systems immediately after they click on the ad.
  • Cross-site scripting: First-party cookies are capable of transmitting harmful codes that cyber criminals implanted in them. Thus, giving hackers unauthorized access to victims’ data and accounts.
  • Session hijacking: Attackers can use first-party cookies to hijack the users’ sessions and pretend to be them in order to access their data.
  • Data harvesting: Hackers are enabled by first-party cookies to collect user data. This data includes search terms, browsing patterns, and other sensitive data. The attacker can then sell this data on the dark web to other hackers.
  • Social engineering attacks: Cybercriminals use techniques to manipulate their victims into divulging private information about themselves. The hacker archives this using first-party cookies.