What Incognito Mode Can and Cannot Protect
A couple weeks ago, someone online posted a comment saying you can stay “safe and secure” online due to using the web browser’s incognito mode.
Is this true. Does incognito mode really prevent someone from ever tracking you online?
Short answer: no
People believe the myth that the incognito mode – on your web browser – will keep you safe and private. However this is not the case.
Incognito mode only does the following:
- prevents web history from being logged locally
- prevents download history from being logged locally
- prevents cookies & cache data from being stored locally
In other words, incognito mode will prevent someone from spying on you, just by opening the web browser and viewing the web history and downloads.
Now what does incognito mode not protect against?
- Malware on the system — Any malware on the system will be totally unaffected by your use of incognito mode.
- IT department — Your IT department will still be able to track your Internet usage on their network. This is especially true if you use their local DNS resolvers. They will know what websites you visit, regardless of your use of incognito mode.
- Internet Service Provider — Unless you make use of a VPN service, your ISP will definitely know where you go online, regardless of your use of incognito mode.
- Government surveillance — Of course, incognito mode will be of no use to you here. Also, even using a VPN will not help much if you are being targeted by a government.
In addition, if you have your web browser logged into a service (e.g., Google Chrome logged into Google), they can track your browsing habits regardless of being in incognito mode or not.
The link below helps prove that any browser being in “private” or “incognito” mode (whatever you want to call it) does nothing to prevent 3rd parties from spying on you.
Posted in Computers, Internet and Servers, Security, Software, VPN
Are Web Browser Extensions Safe to Use?
Many people use web browser add-ons (such as Ad-blockers) for their everyday browsing. What most people are unaware of is that many of these add-ons have permissions that allow the add-on to view the content of the web pages the user is viewing.
The problem? If someone has installed a malicious add-on, their web browsing data (e.g., browsing history, password credentials, what they type into a website, etc.) would have been sent to the add-on’s creator. Now I am not implying that every single web browser add-on does this, but there is a very high potential that this can happen.
Would only using open-source browser add-ons be a safe option? Well open-source add-ons would definitely lower the chance that someone would get away with spying on you. However open-source projects do not have a spotless security track record either. There is still some risk.
Even Mozilla themselves warn about this problem with web browser add-ons (also called extensions).
Here is an example of what I am talking about (https://www.zdnet.com/article/mozilla-removes-avast-and-avg-extensions-from-add-on-portal-over-snooping-claims/).
Posted in Android, Computers, General, Internet and Servers, Security, Software