We’ve all been there – Incognito Mode.
It’s time to handle something sensitive embarrassing or seedy and you definitely don’t want it in your browser where your roommate, your boss or your aunt might stumble upon.
It so you fire up your browser’s trusty incognito or private mode which promises to keep your activity secret from anyone else who uses your computer or phone.
But is it that trusty?
What exactly does incognito mode do?
Read More: Top 10 Chrome Settings you need to change
How Good is the Incognito Mode?
Well, the basic principle operation of incognito mode works by keeping your history, the browser cache that contains the contents of pages you visit, cookies that track your activity and form data that you enter is only temporarily.
You can use incognito mode to:
- Log into a website under a different account.
- Stop advertisers from snooping on what you’re looking at.
How Bad is Incognito Mode?
However, you’ve probably seen the warnings that pop up in incognito mode telling you your employer or Internet service provider might still be able to keep tracks on your online activity.
How would they do that?
Well because incognito mode only affects what’s being stored locally on your computer. All of that traffic is still being routed through the servers at your ISP and also perhaps your school or office. So it can still be intercepted and tracked.
So, if you really want to anonymize your web traffic you’ll need to consider using a VPN as well possibly over a network like TOR to further conceal your identity.
Also, remember that just because a browser deletes the information about your session doesn’t mean it will keep a determined snoop from finding out what you’ve been up to.
For example, features that can run an incognito mode such as browser extensions or Adobe Flash can still leave visible traces on your computer unless you make sure that those are disabled as well.
Browsers also don’t necessarily delete any data that you built up during an incognito session securely. So, some of it could still be found with a software recovery program or inside your PC’s DNS cache which matches the URLs of the sites you visit to the IP addresses.
So, you’ll need to make sure that you clear your DNS cache with this command – ipconfig/flushdns. if you’re really worried about privacy.
PC can also compromise the effectiveness of incognito mode since many browsers delete the data from your incognito mode session once you close your session.
An unexpected error like a computer crash could keep that data from being deleted normally and then, of course, any malware or spying software like a keylogger could easily be keeping tracks on your incognito browsing.
Read More: What does Google know about you?
We’re not trying to scare you or make you think that private browsing is useless. It’s still a powerful tool and an easy quick layer of security but just like any tool it only works if you take the appropriate precautions.
So, make sure that your boss isn’t standing over your shoulder while you’re using incognito mode to send out resumes.
Keep Private Browsing!