Ever been petrified if “Big brother was watching”, while you browsed through the net? You always leave a trail of your browsing history visible to others who have access to your computer. If you have someone snooping around, then don’t wait till they come up with “I Know what you did….”. The good news is that browsing the web can be done privately. Private browsing is also called browsing in incognito mode in Google Chrome and InPrivate mode in Internet Explorer. During normal browsing, your browser stores all data about the history of your searches and the details of the websites you visited. You must have always noticed when browsing, that a site asks for permission to allow cookies for improved functioning of the site. The cookies are saved and form data are stored to auto-complete when you come back to the site later. Many times you must have observed that while you start to type the words in the address bar, the browser suggests you the sites you had already visited. This also appears the same way for any others using your computer.
Every time you visit a site, it caches the information like Username, password, etc to speed up the process. But if privacy is compromised, then it cannot be accepted. Lots of information are sold to third parties for marketing purposes. Now you know how you have been receiving calls and emails from unknown banks and other agencies without you giving out your personal information. All your data entered online is very much sought after for precision targeting. There is a lot of sensitive information browsed over the net and no one wants this to be plated for public view. This may include your financial information, official contacts that are highly secretive, any of your political views, your medical history, etc. Also sometimes you may just be browsing content you don’t care for anyone else to know about. This is often the case for people looking at adult content. We all know that adult traffic is a huge percentage of internet traffic. So if you are looking at an adult dating app or a casual encounter site like meet n fuck site than you should feel confident that you can keep that to yourself without any person or entity invading your online privacy.
Why private browsing?: The necessity for private browsing arises when you are much worried about your data security and privacy especially over a public or shared computer. There is a tremendous usage of the internet and every time you visit you do not want to leave a digital foot trail, do you?
The next person using the computer in an internet center can have access to all the websites that you visited and also can log in with your information. Not only in a public domain but you may need private browsing in your home too.
Many times you may have been annoyed when you find that the data you browsed appears as recommended advertisement in another web application. The cookies are tracked and around the web your browsing habits are monitored and recorded. No one prefers to be shadowed around like this. With private browsing, every time you log out, cookies are deleted and your browsing preferences are kept private. This way you can easily dodge the websites and avoid them keeping track of your activity. You can also choose to use a VPN, private browser like Brave or Mozilla Firefox, and a private search engine.
Private browsing has enabled multiple browsing sessions possible. The cookies are not shared between normal and private browsing sessions. So on the same computer or mobile, you can open a normal window as well as a private window without logging out. Once you log out of private browsing, the details of the same are not found in the normal window.
Your Internet service provider sets a unique IP address to each account which is normally a series of numbers. The sites you visit can keep an account of your IP address and identify your activity.
How to browse privately: Listed are the ways you can choose according to your web browser.
- In Google Chrome: The dark page with the logo of a man with a hat and glasses is the incognito window. To use this, just click on the three vertical dots on the top of your browser window. On the drop-down list choose “New Incognito Window”. This will take you to the private browsing page.
If you are using a shared computer you can choose the Guest mode for private browsing. On the top right of the browser the icon of the person logged in appears. Just click on it and on the drop-down you can find the option-Guest. This way you can prevent cookies and personal data from being stored. Once you log off, you leave a clean slate for the next person.
On sites that run Flash, (mostly with video content), flash cookies are stored. After every site visit remember to delete all cookies, thereby enabling privacy.
Most of the sites that you visit will ask you for your location information. This, it is said can help provide relevant information to your specific region. Though it is true, the same information is also available to advertisers and other third parties. Wherever you find it is not necessary, do not give access to your location information. This is one way to keep your online trail private.
- In Internet Explorer: Here it is called InPrivate browsing. On the top right of your browser window, there is a tab ‘More’. On this you can find a link to your In Private window. This also does not save cookies and data once you close the window facilitating private browsing.
- Mozilla Firefox: This browser offers you a feature called Private Browsing mode. A similar amount of protection like the other two browsers above is provided here too. On the click of the Menu button on the top right you can have access to a New Private window. This page has a purple mask at the top.
- To enable better privacy, add browser extensions that disable trackers and block the ads.
Using VPN: The Virtual Private Network or VPN as it is known is a tool that encrypts your data and provides a secure pathway for your information. This will be even difficult for a hacker to decode. A VPN allows you to create a secure connection with another server over the internet.
VPN can protect your internet activity from online predators if you are using a public Wifi. Using a VPN you can hide your true location. By connecting to a remote server you can browse anonymously using the internet connection from the other computer.
Whether you want to hide your secret activities or want a surprise not to be leaked ahead of time or want official data confidential, etc, you have your choices now.