What Doesn’t Incognito Mode Protect-Advertising Cookies

Computing

What Doesn’t Incognito Mode Protect-Advertising Cookies

incognito


Websites today use a variety of techniques to track your browsing history. More often, websites use advertising cookies to track your activities online and even reveal your browsing habits. Other than cookies, websites can track your online activities through DNS records or system administrator. 


An incognito window can protect you from certain threats but it’s useless against others. Almost every web browser has a provision for private browsing, but the incognito window in Chrome browser is perhaps the most popular option.


How Incognito Browsing Works


Incognito mode on Chrome is a private window that doesn’t save your browsing history, searches, or cookies that you may have picked up. Once you close the incognito window, your browsing session is gone for good. To begin browsing under the incognito window, simply click on the three dots on the top right corner of your Chrome browser. Select a new incognito window and begin to browse privately. Alternative, tap Ctrl+Shift+N. Other browsers like Safari and Firefox also have options for private browsing.


What does an Incognito Window Protect?


Browsing on incognito mode prevents cookies from identifying you. When you visit most websites, embedded scripts will save a small file known as a cookie on your computer. The next time you visit the website, the cookie will identify you. As a result, you can stay logged on a website even after rebooting your computer. However, many social media companies often use cookies to track you across sites and feed you with targeted adverts based on your behaviors online.

Additionally, an incognito mode will help protect you against browser fingerprinting. Most websites still use cookies to collect information online, but browser fingerprinting is quickly catching up. With this technique, the websites you visit gather information about your browser, installed fonts, and add-ons you use. Such information can be used to identify you even if you’re careful about your privacy. To protect yourself from browser fingerprinting, use popular browsers that use default fonts or extensions, like Tor Browser. Alternatively, use VPN browser extension to protect yourself even in incognito mode.


What Doesn’t an Incognito Window Protect Against?

 

An incognito window won’t stop people tracking you through DNS records. Whenever you visit a website, your browser will obtain the IP address of the site. The browser asks your DNS server for the IP address of the site you’re visiting, and your DNS server must give the correct address for you to access the site. So, your DNS server can record the queries and disclose them to advertisers or law enforcement agencies. 


By default, most DNS services are managed by Internet Service Provider, but you can also opt to have it maintained by Google. Free DNS services like OpenNIC promise to maintain the privacy of your browsing sessions. Most premium VPN providers also maintain their own DNS services that are incorporated in the VPN subscription. 


To minimize threats from DNS tracking, ensure that the sites you visit are encrypted with HTTPS. Unsecured sites allow DNS servers to see even the contents you exchange with the site.


Incognito windows will also not protect you from system administrators. To minimize the chances of system admins tracking you, use a reliable VPN or Tor browser to hide your browsing behaviors. However, you should be extra careful when browsing from computers that don’t belong to you. Owners of these devices may have installed tracking software that collects information from your computer even if you use Tor browser or VPN.


Use Separate Browsers or Plug-ins


To safeguard yourself from threats of DNS services and network admins, consider browser compartmentalization. You can get more granular with browser settings by, for example, configuring one browser to accept and remember cookies for regular browsing and another for reading, searching, and browsing sensitive websites.


Ultimately, an incognito window should be used only when it makes sense. It’s a perfect tool that helps you maintain control over your sensitive personal data. However, you’ll need a VPN connection or Tor browser to protect yourself from intruders. Additionally, strive to browse from your own devices as much as you can.


Contributed by: techwarn