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Without such a mechanism, the site would not know whether to send a page containing sensitive information, or require the user to authenticate themselves by logging in. He recommends to use the browser in incognito mode in such circumstances. The term “cookie” was coined by web browser programmer Lou Montulli. It was derived from the term “magic cookie”, which is a packet of data a program receives and sends back unchanged, used by Unix programmers. Together with John Giannandrea, Montulli wrote the initial Netscape cookie specification the same year. The development of the formal cookie specifications was already ongoing.

In particular, the first discussions about a formal specification started in April 1995 on the www-talk mailing list. This section needs additional citations for verification. A session cookie, also known as an in-memory cookie or transient cookie, exists only in temporary memory while the user navigates the website. This makes the cookie less likely to be exposed to cookie theft via eavesdropping. A cookie is made secure by adding the Secure flag to the cookie.

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