How Incognito Mode works & What it doesn't Protect against

The incognito mode (Private Browsing in Firefox) are a great feature of modern browsers that help protect web users from some low-level tracking techniques.

While incognito windows can't be classified as anonymity tool, but it does open a new window that's more like a newly installed browser in which there are no cookies, no bookmarks, no saved history and pre-filled forms. And each time the incognito window is closed, every information transmitted via the browser is deleted.

Among other tracking techniques, websites can also use cookies to track your browsing history, which reveal your online habits.

Incognito mode Prevent Cookies from tracking web users

Most website have embedded scripts which places a cookie on your computer as you browse. And this cookie will, whenever you visit the site again, be used to identify you.

The cookies also feed back information about which sites you’ve visited, which data can be used to serve targeted advertisements or identify your individual preferences. But using an incognito window to open the sites and articles that you do not wish to be connected to your regular browsing will eliminate the possibility of the cookies following you.

If somebody else has access to your computer, an incognito window can help you hide your activities from them. Also, it is perhaps a much better option than deleting your history altogether, which might raise unnecessary suspicion.

What Incognito Mode doesn't Protect against

Each time you visit a website, your browser will have to obtain the site’s IP address, and it does this by inquiring from a DNS server, "what is the IP address of this website".

The DNS server will then responds with the correct answer, thus allowing you to connect to the website. And the DNS server may record your queries and sell them to advertisers or pass them on to law enforcement.

Now, the Incognito mode won’t be able to stop people from tracking you with your DNS records.

Albeit, there are some free DNS services that promise not to pass on your information, such as OpenNIC. Also VPN providers like also maintain their own DNS service, which comes included with a VPN subscription. It does not keep logs and does not pass on any information to advertisers.

If you use public Wi-Fi or connect to your school or work network, the administrator can see every site you visit. And they are even able to see the contents of the site and all information you exchange with it, for sites not encrypted with HTTPS. And the Incognito windows will not protect you from system administrators.

To minimize the threat of tracking, use Tor or a VPN (or both) to hide your browsing habits from the network administrator.

But always be careful of the computer you are using, especially if it is not yours (such as a computer at school or work). As the owner of these devices may have installed some other tracking software that will steal your information even if you use a VPN or Tor.
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