Browser incognito mode: will it help a spy?

Almost all modern browsers have incognito mode. To what extent it protects privacy on the Internet, not everyone understands. Let’s take a closer look at what incognito mode can and cannot hide.

Many people care about online privacy: no one wants personal information to fall into the wrong hands. There are several methods of protection, and one of them is the “incognito” mode. This feature was first introduced by Apple in the Safari browser in 2005. Since then, between 2008 and 2010, other popular browsers have taken the initiative, including Google Chrome, Internet Explorer (now Edge), Mozilla Firefox and Opera.

What allows you to hide the “incognito” mode
In order not to risk important information on the Internet , you should clearly understand what exactly is capable of hiding a browser operating in “incognito” mode. In this mode, the following data is not saved:

However, there is a small correction – all this is not saved directly in the history of the browser itself. The “incognito” mode will be useful in those cases when you constantly or temporarily share the same computer with other family members or friends.

Scenario one – visiting legitimate but compromising sites. For example, you often visit a dating site, but do not want other computer users to know about it. Or you are crazy about videos with cats, but your brutal sibling does not approve of such a hobby. The history in the “incognito” mode will not be recorded, and your online adventures will remain a secret, but only from those who want to check the history in the browser itself.

















Scenario two – selection of a gift and protection from contextual advertising. You’ve probably noticed: it is worth looking at something in an online store, and soon all advertising banners begin to dazzle with this product. This is usually not a big problem, especially if you have an ad blocker turned on.

However, if you want to make a surprise for your other half, who also uses this computer or device connected to the same Wi-Fi network , then it is better to search for a gift through the “incognito” mode. This excludes situations when advertising banners with the intended gift begin to appear on the sites. Here is a vivid example of how an ordinary banner can greatly spoil the surprise of your future bride.

Scenario three – the simultaneous use of several accounts in one social network or service. For example, you need to simultaneously open two Vkontakte profiles on one computer . Let’s say your company profile and your personal page. How to do it? In the main window, go to the first profile, and in the “incognito” window – to the second. In this way, you can use more than two accounts at the same time. In this case, you will need to create several user profiles in the browser and open each account in a separate profile.

Scenario four – you go from a shared computer to the personal account of the bank, electronic wallet, to the website of State services, and so on. It is not recommended to do this from public computers, but if you have a special need, be sure to use the “incognito” mode. It will not only hide the history from curious colleagues, but also will not allow you to accidentally save passwords and logins in appropriate forms.

Scenario five – disabled add-ons. Often plugins lead to unstable work of any sites. To do without extensions, you just need to enter the “incognito” mode. It will automatically disable all add-ons that are installed in the browser.

What incognito mode won’t save you from
As mentioned earlier, “incognito” hides some information only from local users. Your browsing history can be tracked by:

Internet service providers, since all traffic actually goes through them;
local network administrators;
owners of a wireless Wi-Fi access point, for example, in a cafe or other public place;
site owners.
Firefox and Google Chrome browsers warn about this immediately.

Even if you use the “incognito” mode, providers will see all your visits. It is they who provide you with an ip-address and can correlate it with the owner of the computer.

At work, your walks on the Internet can be tracked by local system administrators. Often, companies specifically track visits to specific sites (social networks, instant messengers, and so on) so that employees do not waste time. Remember, incognito mode will be useless here. Special software allows you to quickly track which employee, when, for how long and on what resource.

Site owners also receive information about visits: ip-address and some other information, such as browser version, type of device used, and the like. With a strong desire, you can still be tracked. For example, Gmail, Facebook and Amazon track incognito searches, visits to other sites, and so on. Sites use this information to display relevant contextual ads. In addition, they can identify the user due to the “digital fingerprint” left by them – information about IP addresses, browsers used, devices and pages visited.

To hide your IP address and ensure complete anonymity, it is better to use VPN services or specialized browsers such as Tor.

How to start a window in incognito mode
The launch of the “incognito” mode is performed in just a few clicks. Let’s look at the example of the most popular browsers.

Google Chrome
In the browser, click on the icon with three dots in the upper right part and select the line “New window in incognito mode”.

An alternative way is to press the key combination Ctrl + Shift + N.

Mozilla Firefox
In Firefox, you also need to go to the main settings menu, which is located on the right side of the window, and select “New Private Window”.

A couple of alternative options: the combination Ctrl + Shift + P, you can also right-click on the pinned shortcut on the lower Start panel.

Here users need to click on the browser icon in the upper left corner, and then click on the line “Create a private window”.

Additionally, the combination Ctrl + Shift + N works . You can open a private window through the shortcut on the bottom panel.

Yandex browser
Use the main menu with a selection of the appropriate mode or a combination of the Ctrl + the Shift + of N .

So, “incognito” mode will not help spies who want to completely cover their tracks – this function is more suitable for hiding searches and history from their family or small work team. The incognito mode is not capable of completely hiding information about what you were doing on the computer.