A cookie is a piece of information in the form of a very small text
file that is placed on an Internet user's hard drive. It is generated by a
web server, which is basically the computer that operates a web site. The
information the cookie contains is set by the server and it can be used by
that server whenever the user visits the site. A cookie can be thought of
as an Internet user's unique identification card, which tells a web site
when the user has returned.
Cookies make the interaction between users and web sites faster and
easier. Without cookies, it would be difficult for a web site to remember
the user's preferences or registration details for a future visit. Web
experience more efficient and enjoyable.
Depending on your browser type, you may be alerted when a site is about
to set a cookie on your hard drive. If notified of the cookie installation
you may accept or reject the cookie.
There are two main types of cookies: Temporary and
Temporary Cookies are
stored in the computer's memory only during a user's browsing session and
are automatically deleted from the user's computer when the browser is
closed. Temporary cookies are typically
used as a means of communication between web pages. For example,
OPRA stores your company name in a temporary cookie so it can be easily
passed from page to page.
Permanent Cookies are
stored on the user's computer and are not deleted when the browser is
closed. Permanent cookies can
retain user preferences for a particular web site, allowing those
preferences to be used in future browsing sessions. The OPRA
website currently does not use any permanent cookies.
Are cookies dangerous?
No. Cookies are small
pieces of text. They are not computer programs, and they can't be
executed. Also, they cannot be used to disseminate
Can cookies threaten users' privacy?
Cookies are stored on the computer's hard drive. They cannot access
the hard drive - so a cookie can't read other information saved on the
hard drive, or get a user's e-mail address etc.
History of cookies
Cookies for the internet
were originally developed in 1995 by the Netscape Communications
Corporation. The word "cookie" comes from "magic cookie," a computer
science term for a piece of information shared between co-operating pieces
of software. So where
does "magic cookie" come from?
Some say it comes from the computer games of the late 80's &
Eating Magic Cookies in the game would
give the player special powers.