It is important for you to update your browser when updates become available as this helps to prevent hackers from taking advantage of any vulnerabilities older versions may pose. In addition, online transactions that involve sensitive data such as credit card information require that your browser meets the minimum requirements and supports encryption of 128-bit SSL sessions.
You can test your Browser settings for Single Sign On (SSO) using this page - https://apps.identity.uoguelph.ca/ssotryout/
Internet cookies are small pieces of data which are used to help websites identify their users when they visit their site. An example of how a cookie is used is when your username is already filled into a login form.
Java applets are small applications which are embedded and ran within a web page as opposed to being stand-alone applications. Java applets are typically used when the program is too large to be included in a web page or if the author does not want their code to be visible to others. Java applets can be used to run animation/graphics, chat rooms, calculators, and various other tasks. In order to use Java applets, you have to install a Java plug-in which can be downloaded from Sun Microsystems.