Cookies: they’re not just for dessert any more


In the world of the internet, the word “cookies” doesn’t refer to the sugary morsels that seem to sprout from every kitchen this time of year.  They can be helpful to users, but they bring with them some security risks, too. 

“Web cookies” or “browser cookies” are small pieces of data sent from a website and stored in a user's web browser while they browse that website.  Every time the user loads the website, the browser sends the cookie back to the server to notify the website of the user's previous activity.  Cookies were designed to be a reliable mechanism for websites to remember useful information (such as items in a shopping cart) or to record the user's browsing activity (including clicking particular buttons, logging in, or recording which pages were visited by the user as far back as months or years ago).

Grand Rapids State Bank has had a policy of restricting cookies to one computer per business to provide an additional layer of security for businesses.  The policy has been in place since our online banking product was first introduced and before there were so many web browsers available.

This policy can complicate a user’s access to their online banking account.   Accessing your account from different mobile devices or through different browsers can lock out your access.  The bank’s customer support teams (call 326-9414 between 8 am and 5 pm) can unlock your account, or your organization’s online banking supervisor can also unlock your access.

To avoid being locked out of your account inadvertently, we recommend the following:

  • Use only one browser (ex. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, or Google Chrome) to enter your online banking account.
  • If you know you will be working on a computer other than your designated business computer, reset your cookie before logging off. 
  • For Internet Explorer users, Internet Explorer 10 and 11 are not supported at this time, so please use Internet Explorer 9. 
  • Avoid having too many toolbars on your browser.

 The single-cookie policy was put in place to protect customers’ data.  As we find better solutions, we will make those changes in technology and procedures.  In the meantime, please know that your data security is of paramount concern to us. 

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