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Is Private Browsing Really Private and Secure?

Online security and privacy is one of the major concerns of modern day internet users. That is the reason why we use a wide range of software and hardware tools to ensure that our data is secure from the multitude of cybercriminals who are out there looking for opportunities to hack. Although none of the tools are comprehensive enough to ensure that the protection is 100%, a combination of these tools and a little bit of user discretion will ensure that we stay reasonably safe when we are browsing on the world wide web. One such tool is the private browsing option. This is available in almost all browsers today and is indeed extensively used by internet users on a regular basis. Before we go into the effectiveness of this option, let us take a quick look at what private browsing really is.

What Exactly Is Private Browsing?

Almost all the leading browsers today have a browser in-built option that will allow you to browse privately. All browsers have separate names of their own for this option, but essentially, the technicality behind all is the same. While Mozilla guys call it the private browsing option in their Firefox browsers, Microsoft calls it the In Private browsing in their Internet Explorer browser and folks at Google refer to it as the Incognito mode in their browser, Chrome. When you activate this option, what essentially happens is that the browser will not record the history of the sites you visited, the cookies will not be activated and any sort of auto fill history will not be recorded by the browser. This will ensure that no user who logs on to your computer and uses the same browser will get a whiff of what you were doing with the browser. All you need to is access the menu bar and click on the option that will enable the private browsing. There will also be a keyboard shortcut for some browsers that you can use. However, the feature is not fool proof and has its own limitations.

Limitations of Private Browsing

One of the main things that you must understand about private browsing is that it will ensure only secrecy, not increase security. Of course, there is an indirect increase in the security by a small margin because you will have the luxury of visiting that sites you want without worrying about the other users accessing that information. This will come in handy especially when you are using a public computer. But this does not mean that you will not be visible to the destination sites. When you visit a site, your IP address will be logged into the website’s log. Unlike the other security options that will use a different IP address to your own, the private browsing option will not allow you that luxury. Also, do not assume that stop cookies/tracking online is disabled. Some websites require the usage of cookies and some browsers will ask you if cookies should be enabled. You will have no option but to do it if you want to visit those sites.

Tracking Cannot Be Disabled

Online tracking is a completely different issue. There are different techniques that online stalkers use to track their targets. The secure browsing option will not do anything that will help you protect yourself against online tracking. It is recommended that you use some of the tools that are exclusively meant for preventing others from tracking you online if you wish to secure yourself against that problem.

Another issue with private browsing is that it doesn’t protect you against malicious software such as spyware, malware and computer viruses. Be careful of the sites you visit with the private browsing option turned on.

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