Almost every browser has some variation of private browsing such as the “Incognito Mode” in Chrome or “InPrivate Browsing” in Edge and Internet Explorer. And while these private browsing sessions certainly do offer some significant benefits, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that it’s a silver bullet that will automatically keep all of your online activity safe and private. At the end of the day, no single thing can replace a comprehensive IT Security strategy.
The Perks of Private Browsing
- Your browsing history does not get recorded when you use a Private Browsing window. As soon as you close the session, that information is immediately and permanently purged.
- Cookies that track your activity aren’t tracked in Private Browsing, meaning your internet activity during that session won’t be available to third-party internet marketers.
- Any temporary files that are automatically downloaded are discarded when a Private Browsing session is closed.
- You can run multiple Private Browsing sessions simultaneously if you need to login to different accounts through the same platform (e.g., Google or Facebook) at the same time. You’ve probably noticed that if you try to do this in a normal browsing situation, you can only be logged in to a single account at a time.
For all these reasons, Private Browsing is a great tool to use when you’re using public computers, as you will automatically be logged out of any accounts as soon as the browsing window is closed. And future users of these public computers will not be able to see your internet activities once the browsing session has ended. But when it comes to the question of how safe is private browsing, there is more to consider…
When Private Browsing Isn’t Private
Like most online privacy settings, Private Browsing has its limitations. Most specifically, it does nothing to limit the ability of a third party to view current activities. In other words, even if you’ve initiated “Incognito Mode” or “InPrivate Browsing,” network administrators can still see what you’re looking at and if your computer is infected with any type of spyware, hackers can still track (and record) online activity, including any passwords or personal information you might input while the browsing session is live.
The only way to really ensure your internet activity is truly private is to run all browsing sessions through a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and to maintain up-to-date anti-malware software on any devices you will be using online. To learn more about these tools and IT security best practices, schedule a complimentary consultation with one of ATB’s trusted professionals. Contact us today!