Why Aren’t HTTP-only Cookies More Widely Deployed?

3 May 2010

Yuchen Zhou will present a paper [PDF] on HTTP-only cookies and why it is so hard to deploy security technologies at Web 2.0 Security and Privacy (attached to the Oakland conference) on May 20.

HTTP-only cookies were introduced eight years ago as a simple way to prevent cookie-stealing through cross-site scripting attacks. Adopting HTTP-only cookies seems to be an easy task with no significant costs or drawbacks, but many major websites still do not use HTTP-only cookies. This paper reports on a survey of HTTP-only cookie use in popular websites, and considers reasons why HTTP-only cookies are not yet more widely deployed.