Incognito mode is used to browse online more securely. But is your privacy assured?
THE incognito mode is a browsing option provided by online search browsers to ensure greater privacy for users.
This feature emerged in 2005, introduced by Apple’s Safari, and quickly expanded to other browsers, such as Google Chrome or Explorer, and today it even exists in services and platforms such as Reddit, YouTube, Google Maps or Google Play Store.
In view of the growing concerns of users and governments in different countries with the privacy of personal data of those who browse online, incognito mode was seen as a resource that responds to these concerns on the part of large technology companies.
But it is necessary to be aware of the functions and limitations that options such as incognito mode can provide us, since these companies have already repeatedly defrauded our security expectations.
And in this case, the anonymous navigation offered by the resource is not as anonymous after all, so you must continue to take the usual security precautions.
Incognito mode: how to activate
Users can access incognito browsing mode by opening their browsers and accessing File to open a new browsing window.
In Safari and Firefox for example, you can opt for a new window called New Private Window. In Google Chrome, the option to choose will be New Incognito Window.
Once the new browser windows are opened, you will notice that your browser’s appearance may change color a little. Changes can be made only to the search bar or even to the coloring of the entire background of the page.
The aim is for you to be able to identify the type of browsing you are in, as you will be able to keep other “normal” browsing windows open at the same time.
What does this solution offer?
Browsing through a private or incognito window allows the device where you are browsing to erase traces of all visited sites, reducing the amount of data and information that the browser usually stores locally about your browsing.
This means that the browsing you do will not be recorded in the search history and that the cookies from the sites you have visited, which tend to be recorded on the computer you are using, will be barred or blocked.
Passwords, logins or other files necessary for the functioning of the sites you visit will also be deleted as soon as you log out or close your browsing window.
Advantages to using incognito mode
The practical result of this type of navigation is that your activity is hidden from other people who have access to the same device, whether it be a computer or a mobile phone.
The private window also allows you to log into multiple accounts simultaneously (personal and work) without that activity being locally recorded and visible.
This allows other users of that device not to see your navigations and is especially useful when using common or public devices.
The incognito mode ensures that no open session is forgotten so that the next user can access their accounts, whether they are social networks or ebanking accounts.
The incognito mode is also useful to be able to keep your research secret about buying a surprise gift for someone who shares your device and network or if you want to keep secret some research about health problems that you want to keep confidential.
Another advantage of incognito mode is related to the recommendations you can receive when you search.
Using a private window increases the probability of not being limited to recommendations that are based on your previous searches on the same topic or subject, which can be useful, for example, when you want to book a hotel or a trip, as some prices can be inflated when sites detect your interest.
limitations of incognito mode
Although private browsing deletes data stored on the device it was used on, it does not delete the IP address of the computer you are using.
The IP (Internet Protocol) is a unique identification number that is assigned to each device when it connects to a network and operators have access to it. This means that the governments or network administrators of the entity for which you work or study can also investigate your navigation through the searches that are associated with this number.
In this sense, although users of the network where you browse and the device you share (such as co-workers, family members, anonymous users if it is a public device) may not be able to see what you are searching for, administrators and IT professionals can investigate your activity . Important information that is important to keep in mind when browsing incognito.
Another major limitation is the illusion of security that it can transmit and that can lead users to think that they are more protected by this window of privacy when accessing more dubious sites.
Remember that, although the incognito mode does not allow cookies or other data to be stored on the device, nothing guarantees that, while the session is open on these websites, they will not be able to record some of your data (passwords for example) or even attempt an attack pirate that can be successful before closing the window.
The incognito mode is a private browsing window that allows some privacy, but not total, so our advice is that, for a more efficient private browsing, always use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that will hide your IP address and that will be able to encrypt (encode) the data you send and receive online.
This data has become unreadable for anyone who does not have the key to decrypt it (the key is in the VPN manager subject to conditional access) and these networks have powerful antivirus to stop computer attacks. Learn more about VPNs here.