Private Browsing

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When you visit websites on the internet, the browser keeps a record of what all websites you visit as history, it saves the cookies from the website onto your computer, it also caches (or saves locally for faster retrieval) some pages for showing them to you immediately rather than fetching them again from the website’s server. Besides these, different web-browsers may save different kind of data onto your computer. These data can later on be used to identify you (e.g. cookies) or may post security risk to you in the sense that they may be used to hack into your computer or your account on a website. Private browsing or Incognito Mode browsing can counter this.

In Private Browsing, the browser does not keep any of the browsing data like history, cookie and browser cache. It is just a temporary browsing session and as soon as the user closes the incognito window, these get deleted which makes it easy for the user to protect the browsing habit and details from other people.

Uses:

  • As it does not use cookie from user’s main browsing session, the user can log into a different account in Private Browsing.
  • Users can use it in public computers if they need to log into any of their online accounts and simply close the window when he is done and the next user won’t know what he accessed.
  • It helps to get rid of targeted advertising.
  • It helps to get around website monitoring of the sites that use cookies to know many times you have visited their site, and charge you after a certain amount of time.
  • Airline ticket providers use cookie to track user’s browsing to increase the price of the ticket once they make sure where the user intends to go, Private Browsing does not allow this and the user can get a neutral rate on their travel ticket.

What Private Browsing does not do:

  • It protects your session by deleting the data that has been stored locally. But your internet service provider or anyone in control of the internet traffic can keep tab on your online activity. To protect this information, you can use a VPN which protects your identity.
  • If you run any browser extension in Private Browsing, it can also track your online activity. As the browsers delete the session data and does not wipe that, the data can still be recovered by a data recovery software.
  • It does not remove your computer’s DNS cache, which can also reveal some information about the session.
  • It does not protect you from any spying software or malware if you computer is already infected by them or does not protect your computer from getting infected by malwares transmitted through malicious websites

For Wikipedia entry on Private Browsing, click here.

For more posts on Cybersecurity, click here.

For more posts in The Cyber Cops project, click here.

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