Incognito mode in browsers will not protect you

In this article, I will explain how Incognito mode or privacy mode which is a popular feature in most of the browser will not protect our privacy. This feature is used in browsers for protecting the privacy of its users, but they are not doing the job. This article will tell you why.

All have heard of Private or Incognito mode offered by browsers. Although Safari first implemented it, it became popular when it was implemented in Chrome, IE and Firefox. We all know to what it does (for example, to use your accounts in a foreign computer by erasing your tracks), but, does it exactly protect you? How private is private mode?

The first thing is to know what makes private mode, which is in general very simple. It's just a way of saying to the browser that, when you close the window, be responsible for erasing history, cookies and other local data that have been created during the session. With a practical example, let's say that you've visited Techulator with your account in a browser in private mode. After closing the window put 'tech' in the address bar, no suggestion like "Techulator" will be provided. In history also that entry will not appear, and if you also surf the Web in privacy mode, browser don't even remember your email, account, or any other data of yours.

Here comes the problem with this feature. Sites you visit work exactly like with or without private mode, and for them a request from your browser is the same in both cases.

This means that if they want to follow you, web pages can do it. Although usual cookies do not work because they are deleted, there are many methods to identify you. For example, cookies may also be stored in plugins like Flash, and it does not remove them at the end of the private mode. They can also identify you by your IP address, which does not change (you're always on the same computer), or use advanced methods like fingerprinting canvas.

Private mode does not prevent someone who monitors your connection (such as the computer administrator of your company) to see where you're getting into. For that you have to encrypt the connection, thing that occurs when you connect to HTTPS sites regardless of private mode or not.

It is a "commitment" of the browser, there is nothing that guarantees that your data will be deleted. For example, if add-ins and extensions are activated, they can store information that should be deleted (such as the history of visits). Your operating system may also have records that should be deleted, such as the DNS cache with the domain names of the pages you've visited (DNS is the system that relates a name such as with the address of the server on the Internet). There may be even browser bugs that prevent the deletion of the data.

In short, Private mode or incognito mode only serves for you when you want to eliminate traces of visits without too much toughness. If you really do not want to be monitored and want to have privacy against third parties, you should consider other solutions and perhaps encrypt your browsing. You can use services like Virtual Private Networks (VPN's) fo this purpose. They can protect you by changing your IP to some other IP of another country. Also, they can encrypt your browsing so that no one can track you.

Read How safe is internet banking & tips to keep your bank account safe


Author: Timmappa Kamat01 Feb 2015 Member Level: Gold   Points : 1

So that means the browsers are fooling us claiming that we are safe from prying eyes that spy on our browsing. If there are so many ways to find out the exact pages you are visiting, what's the use of incognito mode? Great informative article and it truly guides us on how not to get fooled by the claims of incognito browsing.

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