HTTP cookie

(redirected from Browser cookie)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.

HTTP cookie

(World-Wide Web)
A system invented by Netscape to allow a web server to send a web browser a packet of information that will be sent back by the browser each time it accesses the same server. Cookies can contain any arbitrary information the server chooses to put in them and are used to maintain state between HTTP transactions, which are otherwise stateless. Typically this is used to authenticate or identify a registered user of a website without requiring them to sign in again every time they access it. Other uses are, e.g. maintaining a "shopping basket" of goods you have selected to purchase during a session at a site, site personalisation (presenting different pages to different users) or tracking which pages a user has visited on a site, e.g. for marketing purposes.

The browser limits the size of each cookie and the number each server can store. This prevents a malicious site consuming lots of disk space. The only information that cookies can return to the server is what that same server previously sent out. The main privacy concern is that, by default, you do not know when a site has sent or received a cookie so you are not necessarily aware that it has identified you as a returning user, though most reputable sites make this obvious by displaying your user name on the page.

After using a shared login, e.g. in an Internet cafe, you should remove all cookies to prevent the browser identifying the next user as you if they happen to visit the same sites.

Cookie Central.
References in periodicals archive ?
Heating up fast is the debate about whether respawning standard browser cookies after the user has deleted them is an acceptable business practice.
These browser cookies have been around since the early 90's.
lt;p>Other patches prevent hackers from pinching browser cookies, executing JavaScript attack code and spoofing Web addresses.
INTERNET FILE FINDER TOOL -- Forms Auto-Fill Data Cleaner finds and removes any auto-fill data collected by web browsers; Cookie Editor gets rid of the browser cookies users don't want and keeps the ones they do; Supports all major web browsers, including Safari, Firefox, Mozilla, Internet Explorer/AOL Netscape, OmniWeb, Camino, iCab, Opera, Sherlock, and Shiira.
86% of respondents in the Netherlands were aware of internet browser cookies compared with 81% in Great Britain, 78% in Germany and 59% in France.
com — even after they deleted their browser cookies and other identifiers.
The technology created Flash cookies that recreated deleted traditional browser cookies.
Google, Facebook, and countless ad serving platforms have a goldmine of data, tracking what we search for, what we like, and even how long we stay on a page, using a combination of web browser cookies and other tracking methods.
7, including unspecified stability problems, a bug that caused some browser cookies to mysteriously vanish, and a Mac-only flaw associated with the Flashblock add-on.
In 2005 while at JupiterResearch, I reported the results of a survey showing that 39 percent of Internet users claimed to delete their browser cookies on a monthly basis," said Eric T.
This key finding highlights the inherent flaw in using browser cookies as the standard mechanism for online advertising targeting, measurement and tracking: cookies only reach about 1/3 of a given audience.