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Your browser’s private browsing may not be as private as you think

For a long time Internet browsers have offered a very striking feature: the private browsing mode, which each development calls in different ways (e.g. incognito in Chrome, or InPrivate in Microsoft Edge). For many it is simply the “porn mode” for obvious reasons.

This mode of browsing allows access to some privacy options, but many users overestimate the ability of these browsers to protect us. A DuckDuckGo survey now reveals that one thing is what private modes of navigation do, and another quite different from what you think they do.

private-browsing

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What do private modes of navigation protect us from?

Opening one of these private browsing sessions will usually get a small message in which the browser tells us how these modes work. Usually what these sessions do is prevent them from being saved in the browser history, nor are normally saved cookies or searches. One of the clearest browsers when reporting this way is Chrome.

The support page for this browser also clarifies in more detail what it does and does not do this mode. The important thing here is to clarify precisely what it does not do. In Chrome and other browsers only prevents these developments “save your activity related to visits to websites.”

That means, as noted in that documentation, that private mode will not prevent other sources from seeing the sites you visit. “Your internet service provider, your employer (if you use a work computer) and the same websites you visit” do see what you do.

The private mode of navigation is very useful for various scenarios (and no, we do not talk about porn), but if what you want is to protect your privacy, it is convenient to complement these modes with the use of a VPN – something that Example indicate in Opera- or even make use of browsers such as Tor, which are responsible for making anonymous all browsing data so that our activity on the internet can not “associate” with our real identity.

You may also like to read another article on YellowTube: Comparison of WhatsApp, Telegram, Hangouts, Skype and Facebook Messenger: What is the best from the PC?

Many users do not understand what the private browsing mode does

The DuckDuckGo survey involved more than 5,000 internet users in the United States, and revealed most relevant findings. The use of private browsing modes is very popular : about half of the users have used it at least once, but among those who use it, more than 30% use it daily and about 25% use it at At least once a week.

What is clear is that many people use these browsers for “embarrassing searches,” but there are also those who use these modes to find themselves on a public computer, or to access finance, shopping or travel sites.

Some people like me use it to be able to enter their email account in a foreign computer knowing that the details of that session will not be stored, and others that for example use it for web development (tests without being logged in the system). The applications are, as we said, numerous.

The Internet continues to collect data in these sessions

The funny thing is how people believed that private browsing worked. Among the most frequent confusions were the belief that private browsing protected the user from visiting websites that did not know or that the government knew what kind of websites they accessed.

It was explained well by our partner Guillermo Julián in Genbeta long ago indicating that this private mode is local, and it is more a commitment of the browser. What does “local” mean? Well, in fact, “the sites you visit work exactly the same with or without private mode”:

This means that if they want to follow you, the pages can do it. And is that although the usual cookies do not work because they are deleted, there are many methods to identify you. For example, cookies can also be stored in plugins such as Flash, and this does not delete them at the end of the private mode. They can also identify you by your IP address, which does not change (you are always on the same computer), or use advanced methods such as canvas fingerprinting or the recent failure of HSTS supercookies.

Message to developers: We need a private mode that is even more private

In fact, according to DuckDuckGo approximately 65% of respondents overestimated the advantages of this mode of navigation, and “that leaves most private navigation users exposed more than they think they are.”

Telling them how these sessions actually worked, about two out of three users felt that their browser should further protect their privacy, and almost 85% would be willing to try out another web browser that would offer greater privacy protection.

This sounds like a clear message to browser developers: your private browsing mode is useful, but it should be even more powerful in terms of protecting our browsing sessions.

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