Why Private Browsing Doesn’t Offer Complete Privacy?
Private browsing, also known as incognito mode or privacy mode, is a feature in a web browser that allows disabling of browsing history and web cache. It also enables disabling of data storage in cookies and flash cookies. Unlike in normal browsing, when in incognito mode, your browser cannot store your browsing history, saved passwords, searches, cache among other things.
It thus makes it difficult for people who want to snoop into your history while preventing websites from monitoring your visits. Although it offers some privacy, it does not make you completely anonymous online.
What private browsing does is that it changes how your browser behaves, but it does not alter the behavior of anything else. With the advent of online banking, cloud computing, and internet shopping, threats on your computer are continuously on the rise and most of your financial and personal information is at greater risk of being stolen than before.
One potential threat to user privacy is browser extensions. Most browsers are designed to active extensions automatically when the private or incognito browsing setting is activated. This action enables installed extensions to record visited sites secretly. By default, some browsers deactivate extensions when in incognito mode. However, they allow the normal and private modes to work parallel thus enabling normal mode installed extensions identify the activities of the user by monitoring the total usage of computing resources that are shared.
Privacy mode can only inhibit people from snooping your browsing after you are done, but if they can access your computer, they will snoop while you are browsing. Some people install monitoring software on computers to track web browsing and other applications with parental control like features can track visited sites and even take screenshots of the sites.
Browsers have different user traffic characteristics and interfaces. The interface that you use is dependent on the nature of the browsing session, normal or private. A remote website can tell when someone is using privacy mode to browse the site. Being in privacy mode should itself be considered private as well.
Your privacy mode only affects your computer and does not prevent other computers, routers, and servers from getting your browsing information. When browsing, you are always on a network, be it an educational, corporate, or your home network. The history you leave behind on these networks can be accessed remotely using the new internet monitoring systems and software even if you use the privacy mode. It is possible to identify frequented websites by associating the IP address at the web server.
The bottom line is, private browsing is not really effective in protecting your confidential information.