Does Private Browsing Really Protect Your Privacy?

private browsing

When it comes to private browsing mode, most Internet users think that they can surf anonymously. Obviously, there are still many people do not know what private browsing mode is. And they trust in private browsing mode too much.

Does private browsing mode really protect your privacy? What can private browsing mode do for you?

Today we will explain how private browsing mode works and what it means for you. Read this article and you will be able to answer the questions above.

Private browsing mode can or cannot do:

The private browsing mode only prevents your activities from being accessed by other users on the local device

incognito mode

As a mode that runs on the local browsers, it has a different name in different browsers. In Google Chrome, it is named Incognito Mode. What’s the difference between normal browsing mode and private browsing mode? According to Google Chrome, the following information won’t be saved in a private window:

  1. Your browsing history
  2. Cookies and website data
  3. Information entered in forms

They are all saved on the local device while surfing the Internet in normal browsing mode. The advantage of private browsing mode is that other users of this device can not access your browsing history or even log in to your account without entering your account and password. It effectively prevents others from accessing and stealing your personal information and property through the device you use.

At the same time, Chrome’s incognito window will tell you who can still access your web activity.

Some browser plug-ins: most browser plug-ins can instantly know which web pages the user has visited. Your web activity can still be tracked even if you are in private browsing mode because the plug-in is not disabled in this mode. You have to turn off the plug-in manually to protect your personal information.

The website you visit: when a user visits a website, the user’s IP address is displayed directly to the website, so that the website can still know that you have visited the website. Everything you read on the website is also recorded after you log in to your account of the website.

Your Internet service provider: when a user requests access to a website, this request will pass through the ISP to the website. Thus, your web activity is visible to your ISP.

Your employer or school: many enterprises and schools are now setting up a private network that connects the Internet only via one IP. When this IP receives a request from an Intranet IP, it forwards the request to the destination site. As soon as the website gives permission to the request, this IP forwards the data back to the Intranet IP. Employers and schools see clearly which website you visit. When you visit HTTP sites, employers and schools can track which sites you’ve visited, what content you’ve read, how long you’ve stayed on each site, and so on. While you are visiting sites protected by HTTPS (it is more difficult to perform an HTTPS decryption or a one in the middle attack), schools and employers can only know which website you have visited. Besides, unsecured Internet connections like free public WiFi can also make your browsing history accessible to others.

Private browsing mode is also useful in some cases

As mentioned above, private browsing mode is often used to protect your browsing history from being accessed by other people who you share computers with. It can protect your private data from malicious use. 

In addition, private browsing mode also protects us from malicious advertising. I believe that many people have ever been plagued by advertising. After you search for a product on Amazon, you’ll see many ads for that product on other websites or in other apps. Companies track your web activity and customize ads to persuade you to buy this product. 

remove unwanted ads

If you want to avoid annoying ads like these, next time you can visit Amazon in a private window. Because cookies and temporary files are deleted when you close the private window.

If you want to dig out other uses of private browsing mode, you can read this article. As long as you understand what private browsing mode can do for you, you can make full advantage of it.

Conclusion

Generally, companies like Google collect your personal information in order to provide better services to you. Some companies only want to make money by selling user data. They use tracking cookies to steal user information and sell it to third parties. For them, money comes first.

Therefore, Internet users should be very careful when browsing websites. You should neither trust too much on private browsing or take no precautions. While it is impossible to be completely anonymous online, you can still take precautions to avoid being a victim of data breaches. The most essential thing is to raise your awareness of online security and privacy. Let’s start with a VPN service. It can not only encrypt your Internet traffic but also hide your IP address.

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