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Grupo QI

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Yuri Vorobyov
Yuri Vorobyov

Firefox And Chrome Private Browsing Not So Private



Firefox goes beyond private browsing with Tracking Protection. It stops companies from following you around the web. It uses a list of tracking sites compiled by Disconnect.me. Whenever a cookie tries to reach a site on the list, Tracking Protection blocks it.




Firefox and Chrome Private Browsing Not So Private



Or, you can use a keyboard shortcut to enter private mode. On Windows, hit CTRL + Shift + N to open a new incognito window. On a Mac, use Command + Shift + N.


You can also use a keyboard shortcut to browse privately in firefox: use CTRL + Shift + P on Windows or Command + Shift + P on Mac.


Some web browsers that offer private browsing come with a statement that explains why using the feature may not guarantee complete privacy. The goal of private browsing is to prevent information from being automatically stored on your device, like browsing histories or downloaded cookies. Though in some instances, files that have been downloaded or bookmarked may still be saved. Then, the private browsing session expires only when the browser window is closed.


As with any other browsing session, private mode may provide an added layer of safety if your device is fortified with an up-to-date security suite and runs the latest operating system. If not? Cyber snoops or hackers may be able to view your session history.


While Opera offers many of the same privacy features as other browsers, one additional feature puts its private browsing mode a step above the rest. Opera lets you turn on a VPN connection that could add extra protectection to your browsing activities. However, some might argue this is not a true VPN connection.


This private browsing mode is similar to the others in most respects, but it does offer an additional feature in the form of tracking protection. With this feature enabled, Mozilla attemps to prevent sites from gathering your browsing history.


Incognito mode and other private browsing modes are useful and they do provide a real level of local privacy protection that is easy to take advantage of. As long as users are aware of the limitations and do not expect a magic bullet that completely hides their online activity, it can be a useful tool that is simple to use.


That's because private browsing is intended to wipe local traces of where you've been, what you've searched for, the contents of forms you've filled. It's meant to hide, and not always conclusively at that, your tracks from others with access to the personal computer. That's it.


Although it might seem reasonable that a browser's end game would be to craft a system that blends incognito modes with anti-tracking, it's highly unlikely. Using either private browsing or anti-tracking carries a cost: site passwords aren't saved for the next visit or sites break under the tracker scrubbing. Nor are those costs equal. It's much easier to turn on some level of anti-tracking by default than it would be to do the same for private sessions, as evidenced by the number of browsers that do the former without complaint while none do the latter.


Although incognito may be a synonym to some users for any browser's private mode, Google gets credit for grabbing the word as the feature's snappiest name when it launched the tool in late 2008, just months after Chrome debuted.


borrowed the name of its private browsing mode, InPrivate, from Internet Explorer (IE), the finally-being-retired legacy browser. InPrivate appeared in IE in March 2009, about three months after Chrome's Incognito and three months before Firefox's privacy mode. When Edge was first released in 2015 and then relaunched as a clone of Chrome in January 2020, InPrivate was part of the package, too.


Edge does a more thorough job of explaining what its private browsing mode does and doesn't do than any of its rivals, with on-screen paragraphs dedicated to describing what data the browser collects in InPrivate and how the strictest additional anti-tracking setting can be called on from within the mode. In addition, Edge 92 -- the current version as of this writing -- uses the more informal "What Incognito does" and "What Incognito doesn't do" language on its InPrivate introductory screen, something desktop Chrome hasn't yet gotten to.


It's also possible to launch an InPrivate session by right-clicking a link within Edge and selecting Open in InPrivate Window. That option is grayed out when already in a private browsing session but using Open Link in New Tab does just that within the current InPrivate frame.


A private session window is marked by the purple "mask" icon in the title bar of the Firefox frame. In Windows, the icon is to the left of the minimize/maximize/close buttons; on a Mac, the mask squats at the far right of the title bar. Unlike Chrome and Edge, Firefox does not color-code the top components of the browser window to signify the user is in privacy mode.


Like other browsers, Firefox warns users that private browsing is no cure-all for privacy ills but is limited in what it blocks from being saved during a session. "While this doesn't make you anonymous to websites or your internet service provider, it makes it easier to keep what you do online private from anyone else who uses this computer," the caution reads.


(Firefox also uses the Private Browsing introductory screen to shill the Mozilla VPN service, a $5 to $10 per month virtual private network that can, like other VPNs, hide your actual IP address from destination servers.)


Notable is that Firefox's private browsing mode is accompanied by the browser's superb "Enhanced Tracking Protection," a suite of tracker blocking tools that stymie all sorts of ad-and-site methods for identifying users, then watching and recording their online behavior. While the earliest version of this was offered only inside Private Windows, the expanded technologies also work within standard mode.


Because Enhanced Tracking Protection is enabled by default within Firefox, it doesn't matter which of its settings -- Standard, Strict or Custom -- is selected as far as private browsing goes; everything that can be blocked will be blocked.


Chrome may get far more attention for its Incognito than any other browser -- no surprise, since it's by far the most popular browser on the planet -- but Apple's Safari was actually the first to introduce private browsing. The term private browsing was first bandied in 2005 to describe Safari 2.0 features that limited what was saved by the browser.


While the exact implementation varies from browser to browser, what private browsing modes have in common is that once you close your private browsing window, your browser no longer stores the websites you visited, cookies, user names, passwords and information from forms you filled out during that private browsing session.


Although some browsers, including Safari and Firefox, offer some additional protection against web trackers, private browsing mode does not guarantee that your web activities cannot be linked back to you or your device. Notably, private browsing mode does not prevent websites from learning your internet address, and it does not prevent your employer, school or internet service provider from seeing your web activities by tracking your IP address.


We conducted a research study in which we identified reasons people use private browsing mode. Most study participants wanted to protect their browsing activities or personal data from other users of their devices. Private browsing is actually pretty effective for this purpose.


Additionally, as long as you have not logged into your Google account, any searches you make will not appear in your Google account history and will not affect future Google search results. Similarly, if you watch a video on YouTube or other service in private browsing, as long as you are not logged into that service, your activity does not affect the recommendations you get in normal browsing mode.


Private browsing also offers few security protections. In particular, it does not prevent you from downloading a virus or malware to your device. Additionally, private browsing does not offer any additional protection for the transmission of your credit card or other personal information to a website when you fill out an online form.


It is also important to note that the longer you leave your private browsing window open, the more browsing data and cookies it accumulates, reducing your privacy protection. Therefore, you should get in the habit of closing your private browsing window frequently to wipe your slate clean.


Furthermore, a 2018 research study found that the disclosures shown on the landing pages of private browsing windows do little to dispel misconceptions that people have about these modes. Chrome provides more information about what is and is not protected than most of the other browsers, and Mozilla now links to an informational page on the common myths related to private browsing.


It's the perfect time to take a look at one privacy feature that's right in front of you: your web browser's private browsing mode. Just what is it that makes private browsing private? Let's take a look at the major browsers and see.


Mozilla also gives you an additional setting that can make Private Browsing a little more private:tracking protection. Turn it on and Firefox will attempt to prevent sites from gathering data about your browsing habits.


Opera is noteworthy because its private browsing mode offers one truly unique feature. You can turn on a VPN connection to add another layer of secrecy to your browsing activities. It's not a bulletproof VPN solution and it still doesn't keep your activities totally private, but it does provide additional protection.


It's still very possible to see what you've been doing. Routers, firewalls, and proxy servers could be keeping tabs on your browsing activities, and private browsing mode won't get in the way of that.


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