Switching from a regular browsing window to the incognito mode is smart but if you think it will keep you totally safe, you are wrong. Users prefer the incognito mode when they don’t want browsers to save their search engine and website history. They are under the impression that no one will be able to detect them during their incognito activity but that’s not true.
There are a couple of reasons why online systems conduct regular tracking. It’s all about creating an amazing user experience these days so collecting user data is essential for that. Websites run on advertisements but keeping user experience in mind, they only post ads that you might be interested in. You may have noticed options for hiding ads and the website questioning you about your ad preferences. Additionally, their security system monitors users for threats and cybercrime.
Incognito mode operation
The incognito mode is a basic feature available in browsers as an option to give you limited cover during a browsing session. Incognito mode works like you have installed a browser again so no data is saved like normal.
You could consider deleting your cookies after every session or turning off third party cookies. There is software that identifies cookies so you may block them separately. The easy way is using the incognito mode that prevents cookies from tracking you since they won’t be able to identify you.
Device fingerprinting doesn’t just store your private information but also collects data about your browser add-ons and extensions. This is why simply turning on the incognito mode does not protect you against fingerprinting. You will require a popular browser that does not use any extensions to be safe in the incognito mode.
Chances are that you live with your family or roommates who may check your browser history out of curiosity or by chance. If you keep deleting your entire history that would seem quite as if you had something to hide. It’s better to browse in incognito mode when you don’t want your browser to save those links in your History.
Although, incognito mode has its perks, it does not promise to hide all your data or prevent others from identifying you. You require a good VPN to encrypt your data and hide your IP address.
Limitations of Incognito mode
- DNS tracking
Domain name servers (DNS) basically exist to facilitate the user but sometimes they can prove to be highly problematic. DNS keep a list of domain names and convert them into IP addresses which the computer systems can actually read and store for further use. Data from DNS all over the internet is collected at the Central Registry and updated regularly with the cooperation of hosting companies and internet service providers. The purpose of DNS is to help your internet service provider direct you to the right website through its IP address.
DNS tracking allows DNS providers to gather your private information including your website preferences. This is part of optimizing user experience and setting up suitable ads you would respond positively to. The data for the websites you inquire about is forwarded to the advertisers for this purpose. Besides that, there are law enforcement agencies that gather your private information on a regular basis and cannot be stopped. They create user profiles based on the information they collect from these websites about your social, political, religious and sexual inclinations. Laws put in place to ensure national security unfortunately have an adverse effect on user privacy.
DNS service is usually offered by your internet service provider but there are also other free DNS services. There are some DNS services that have regulations regarding the sharing of private user data so they are worth considering. Google also runs a reliable DNS service but user privacy is not given priority. The best solution is to choose a VPN that provides its own secure DNS service guaranteeing no data records are kept.
If you are using a device that belongs to your school, institute or office it is obvious that your browsing data can be accessed by the administrator of that network. Not only that but when you use a public Wi-Fi or log on to a network that you don’t personally run, you leave yourself exposed to multiple security threats. Your browsing data will be available to the administrator along with any passwords you have saved in the browser while working. If those websites don’t have proper encryption, all the content you viewed and interacted with will be open to the administrator. It doesn’t matter if you browse through the incognito mode because that does not protect you against the authority of the administrator.
Try to avoid visiting websites that contain sensitive information on devices you don’t personally administer. It is also best to avoid public networks and public Wi-Fi connections since there is a great chance of your device being hacked. Incognito mode is a good idea but remain fully aware of its limitations so you are not left open to serious threats.
The ultimate security level can be attained by picking a reliable VPN provider that has good user reviews and offers the features you desire at a reasonable price. Not all of them promise to keep no records of your browsing history so always remember to read the details carefully. Better be safe than sorry.