Incognito in Chrome, Mozilla is not as secure as we think: reasons
All modern browsers have private mode, or as it is often called, Incognito mode. Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, Opera and others have a similar function. There is a note in the comments to it that such a regime supposedly makes your actions on the Internet secretive. However, it also has a limit in terms of privacy. Incognito or private mode actually increases the level of personal privacy on the Internet, but it is not able to completely hide information about a personal computer or smartphone. To better understand the level of privacy from Incognito mode, it’s worth understanding how it works.
What does Incognito Mode do?
The easiest way to describe this mode is as follows: as soon as the user closes the window with the private mode, the browser immediately forgets about all the data saved during the session. Neither cookies, nor entered passwords, nor history will be saved. If you open the site in this mode, the web resource will not be able to recognize you (with the exceptions described below). He will again ask for a password, as well as offer to subscribe to news, show special offers, will not be able to display interesting products, etc.
This behavior makes the Incognito mode valuable, after turning it on, the user starts surfing from scratch. After trying to download Twitter or Gmail, you will need to enter the password from the system again. This can be inconvenient, but there is a price to pay for privacy. The browser will not remember the information that was searched for in a search engine and display it in web forms.
Private mode has its advantages:
- allows you to open a site with several accounts in one window at the same time;
- does not save search queries that I would not like anyone else to see;
- does not recognize as an existing user of the site;
- deletes all session data.
While the browser does whatever it takes to ensure privacy, tracking systems are much smarter. They can still monitor your online activities.
Why isn’t Incognito mode working?
If you go to one of the popular sites like Facebook, Gmail, the actions cease to be anonymous and lose their temporary character. The browser deletes the files themselves at the end of the session, but the service still knows about them and can associate data with accounts in its products and other human profiles. Moreover, after logging into Facebook, its system can see what you are doing on other sites and select ads for specific interests, despite the Incognito mode.
Blocking third-party cookies helps to cope with tracking to some extent. However, the capabilities of ad networks and tracking technologies are so multifaceted that it will not be possible to fully defend against them.
Google already had similar problems, after entering the search bar in Incognito mode, the service still linked requests to the account. It also uses this data to set up an ad network and track your actions on other sites.
Even without logging into their website accounts, services can figure out who you really are. To do this, they use some hints: device type, IP address, browser. As a result, sites can link search data to a personal account. Browsers are still learning to combat the “fingerprinting” type of tracking, but they have not achieved much in this direction yet.
Also, Incognito mode is useless against tracking by your ISP or employer, and it also saves downloaded files. It should be regarded as a way to hide online activity from the browser on a specific device and the people who use it. For everything else, there are no guarantees.
To stay as invisible as possible on the web, you need to use a privacy-focused browser, use special search engines like DuckDuckGo, install a VPN program, and block WebRTC. In this case, the chances of maintaining confidentiality will be much higher.