What Privacy and Incognito Mode Can and Cannot Protect

Posted on Nov 28, 2018 by Summer Hirst
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incognito mode

When you don’t want your wife to know about the, er… objectionable websites you view, incognito browsing mode is the right tool for you.

Don’t want your browser to remember what you did online? Switch to Incognito mode. Known as Incognito on Chrome and Private Browsing on Firefox and Opera, it gives us a “safe” browsing experience. But how safe is it really?

 

What Incognito CAN do

Incognito changes how your browser behaves. However, it doesn’t change anything else.

In normal mode, your browser will keep a history of all the pages you visited and store cookies from websites. The autocomplete feature of the browser saves the data you entered in a form on a web page.

Your browser also stores the searches you made and saves pages in the cache. If someone opens your computer, they can know what you have been browsing.

If you want to protect your history from people who have access to your computer (such as your family), incognito is perfect for you.

What it CAN’T do
If there’s a server that’s monitoring your activity, incognito will not hide your activities from it.

Incognito hides your actions from the browser you’re using. So if you’re using social media in school when it’s not allowed, you’re not hiding from anyone. The network admins can still see all your activities.

And at home, your ISP gets to see everything – even if you’re on incognito. The private browsing mode protects you only from people who have access to your system.

Government surveillance – still on.

Hacking activities (if any) – continuing without any issues.

What you should do to stay private
Incognito mode is great for a more private browsing session when other people have physical access to your system. However, if you’re trying to protect your activities from your ISP of the government, you’ll need something extra.

A VPN is the thing to use
A VPN will encrypt your data and pass it through one of its servers so someone snooping on your connection will not get to know about your actions. And the website that you visit will not be able to see your real IP address either. What it will see is the VPN server’s IP address.

How to watch NSFW (Not Safe For Work) content at work
The best thing to do is to NOT browse any NSFW websites at work. Apart from computer logs and network admins, people passing by your screen can also see what you’re viewing. But if you still want to access content that you don’t want your network admins to know, you should use a VPN with incognito mode.

About Summer Hirst

Summer is a tech writer and a security enthusiast. She is also a software analyst and has reviewed several applications. A technology lover, she has worked in many IT-related industries. She keeps an eye on the cyber world and writes about the latest happenings around the globe.

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