Every day, millions of people use Google Chrome, which accounts for 67% of the worldwide browser market. Out of those millions of people, a fair portion use incognito mode in an attempt to maintain their privacy and stay safe on the web.
But incognito mode isn’t as safe as you might think. While it does offer some minimal degree of privacy, it is in no way a shield against snoopers, nor is it an invisibility cloak.
What Incognito Mode Actually Does
Essentially, when you switch on incognito mode you’re telling Chrome not to remember what you’re about to do, but that doesn’t mean that no one will save your information.
This can be very useful in protecting your data from other people with physical access to your computer, like family members and friends. For example, if you wanted to search for a surprise getaway for your spouse, it’s a good idea to turn on incognito mode. That way, your past searches for “tickets to Honolulu” won’t show up when your spouse hops on the computer and starts typing another search term that starts with the letter “t.”
It’s also extremely helpful for when you’re borrowing someone else’s computer or using a shared computer, like in a library, at work, etc. When you put on incognito mode before logging into a website, you can rest assured that your browsing data and login info won’t be saved — by Chrome, that is. There’s always the risk of keyloggers or other malware logging your information.
But if you actually want to stay safe and maintain your privacy online, you need to take additional security measures.
What Incognito Mode Does Not Do
Incognito mode only prevents your data from being saved in Chrome (or another browser) on the computer you’re using. It does not prevent other parties, like your ISP, websites, or cyber criminals using packet sniffing tools, from viewing what you’re doing.
Think of it like this: imagine you’re in a room with two other people, and you have a serum that makes someone forget everything they hear and do over the next two hours. You give one person the serum and tell them a secret. In two hours, they won’t remember anything, so your secret’s safe with them.
But wait — there was still another person in the room listening in on your conversation, and they didn’t get the serum. Now, there’s still someone out there who has your secret, and they can do whatever they want with it.
This is the problem with incognito mode: it will make Chrome forget what you tell it, but there are still other people in the metaphorical room with you. There’s your ISP and the websites you visit, and if you’re in a public place, there may also be cyber criminals using packet sniffing tools to view all the information you send.
Even though your browsing history and cookies will be deleted once you close out of the incognito window, your data can still be traced back to you.
The internet is a treacherous place, and incognito mode doesn’t do much to protect you. While it’s useful for keeping your browsing history safe from friends, family, and coworkers, incognito mode doesn’t prevent your data from being openly broadcast to the world wide web.
If you want to stay safe on the web, the best thing you can do is contact mPowered IT at 678-389-6200 or visit the mPowered IT website to protect your cyber security.