Is Browser Incognito Mode Really Private and Safe?
Privacy and security are two of the most important issues when dealing with any type of technology. It becomes more necessary to prioritize these while browsing the Internet. However, there are several misconceptions that can give a sense of false security. One of which is browsing the Internet using Incognito Mode.
What Browsers Do
Before determining what Incognito Mode does, it is necessary to understand what browsers do when you are online. Browsers keep a record of your activities including the URLs you visit, search terms that you use, and web pages that you access, among other things. Depending on how it is set-up, browsers can also save login information.
Moreover, browsers allow social engines to record the sites that you visit. Ad engines also run on your browser to record your browsing behavior and use it to personalize ad campaigns. Browsers also allow your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to track the pages that you visit.
With the amount of information that the browser collects, anyone with access to your computer, illegal or otherwise, can take advantage of the files containing your personal information. This opens you to different risks such as identity theft, financial fraud, and more.
What Incognito Can Do
Many users assume that surfing the Internet in Incognito Mode protects their privacy and security. While Incognito Mode can do a lot, it can only do so much.
When you are in private browsing, the browser disables history monitoring. That means the browser will not record any browsing activity. Moreover, cookies created during Incognito Mode are deleted as soon as the private window is closed. Additionally, some extensions and plugins are disabled depending on their settings. The browser still has access to personal information that was gathered during regular browsing.
What Incognito Cannot Do
Your browser is not the only one that’s collecting information about you while you browse. Every single website collects personal data and browsing behavior every time you visit them. As mentioned, ad engines and site engines also record anything that you do. Their goal is to collect information to create personal experience including ads. Several popular websites and web applications such as Facebook, Starbucks, Snapchat, and Google were caught illegally collecting personal information from users who were unaware.
Private browsing cannot control any third-party entities from monitoring your browsing activities. Moreover, Incognito Mode, on its own, is practically powerless against threats, such as malware, aiming to collect as much information from you.
How to Protect Your Privacy
There are several measures that you can take to protect both your security and privacy.
Set-up Browser Security
Making the browser more secure is the first step in protecting your privacy. You can easily block third-party cookies in your browser. That means it will limit the amount of information it gathers from you. Not being signed in automatically is a small inconvenience for the privacy as the browser will not have your login information.
Moreover, ensure that you are only using a secure wireless connection. Avoid using public Wi-Fi if possible. You should employ a strong password on your home Wi-Fi connection. Maintaining a secure network not only protects your browser privacy and security but all of the devices on your network as well.
Maintain Real-Time Security
Security and privacy concerns should be more than your browser. Many of your applications connect to the Internet without your awareness. There are simple, yet effective steps to take to ensure security and privacy.
Passwords are the first line of your online presence. Experts suggest using a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters to create complex passwords. Secure password managers are also available so you do not have to remember all your passwords. Additionally, most modern password managers can even general strong passwords for each of your online accounts. Strong passwords can protect your privacy by securing your online accounts from the reach of malicious entities.
It is also important to enable two-factor authentication anywhere you can. For example, you can follow this guide to add this layer of protection in your Facebook profile. Google also offers an easy way to turn on the two-factor authentication on all of the Google products that you use.
More importantly, you need to install a robust anti-malware application such as MalwareFox to protect you from various threats. Services like MalwareFox offer real-time solutions such as anti-spyware, anti-adware, and ransomware protection.
Subscribe to VPN Services
In today’s well-connected world, it is impossible to guarantee 100% privacy and security. However, subscribing to Virtual Private Network (VPN) services will significantly increase the chances of protecting your network. VPN services employ several layers of protection. First, the VPN client on your computer encrypts your data before it even reaches your ISP.
Then, the data goes through the VPN server for another layer of protection. At this point, the VPN hides your IP address making the connection anonymous. That means, any third-party technologies, such as ad engines, cannot trace your connection. Moreover, the websites that you visit will not have a record of your personal information.
There are numerous VPN services out there with different features and price points. However, it is important to note that free VPNs need close observation and review if you are thinking of using one. Popular paid VPN services are often more transparent than the free options.
Security and privacy are modern-day concerns that should be taken seriously. It is imperative that you prioritize your safety as there are dire consequences when ignored. The measures above will improve security and privacy when implemented properly.