For a while now I wanted to write an article on private browsing. I want to share the benefits of [private browsing] and how it helps you to stay more secure online, especially when out and about or using a machine in a public place.
A while ago I came across this article and wanted to share my thoughts and expand on a couple of other pointers.
Now while many will have seen a little menu below ‘new window’ in the menu of every browser, some will not be aware that most browsers come with this nifty feature called private browsing. Many of us probably, like me hit, ctrl+n or ctrl+t, cmd+t etc to open a new window or tab.
When we browse the internet generally we are left to the elements of each site we visit, cookies are stored, our footsteps stay in our browser history and our sessions are remembered.
Not as secure as you think, but,
While it is true that going incognito (to coin what Google’s browser calls it) helps to a great extent by not keeping tabs on your recent/temporary history, it is still not a full-proof security measure.
It’s still very possible for others to see what you’re up to… Routers, firewalls, and proxy servers could be watching your browsing activities, and private browsing mode still won’t hide what you are doing.
So just be aware of your two and a half hour activity on Facebook that afternoon, that traffic could still be still be monitored by your IT department!
Its still worth it?
There are a number of valid reasons to use private browsing mode. You can use it to log into multiple email accounts, social network, or bank accounts at the same time.
Where it really is best to use it is if you are using a computer that is not yours, especially if you are at an internet cafe abroad, checking your email or doing online banking in public.
Even when you are on the train using your laptop on the way to work you should really consider using private browsing, especially if you are using a public network. If you ever use a computer in a hotel reception or in a library to access your bank accounts, private browsing can reduce risks.
Same goes if your laptop gets lost or stolen, it is very easy to access a hard drive and glean your day-to-day activities. Or if you just walk away for a moment in an office you visit and somebody decides to be nosey!
Other useful things about it.
If you are trying to buy a surprise gift or make holiday plans, private browsing will help keep your activities quiet.
If you have to check your email or sign into Twitter, it’s still a good idea to use private browsing to make sure your activities vanish when you close the window.
The history is only gone when you close the window.
Private browsing only remembers the history as long as you have that window open, so remember when you are done to close that window. Shutting the computer lid doesn’t do it.
Once the browser window is closed that’s it – all is forgotten.
How to use private browsing in these browsers