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Browsing Incognito 101: How To Browse In Secret


The browsing history on your computer holds a ton of information. Your search history shows all the things you don’t know that you quickly Google. It can reveal the things that worry you about your health, the law, or politics. Your browsing history can expose the things you look up at 3 am when you can’t sleep or after a night out. 

It may not even cross your mind that people want to know what you’re looking at on your devices. But there’s a market for this information. There are a ton of prying eyes on the internet. Your browsing history may seem innocuous. But there’s a market for advertisers, cybercriminals, and even government agencies to know what you are doing on your computer. 

The last thing you want is to have your entire experience on the web monitored. You don’t want your identity stolen because you clicked on the wrong website that was targeted specifically to you. If this concerns you, you may be wondering how you can browse in the privacy of your own space without prying eyes tracking your every move.

Is Private Mode Really Private?

Web browsers have a private browsing mode. It is known as Incognito Mode on Google Chrome and InPrivate Browsing on Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge. But how private is this private mode? 

The key is to getting a handle on privacy is to understand how browsers work. When you browse the internet, your web browser will keep a running tally of the sites you visit in your browsing history. They will keep a cache of files that help you load websites. They’ll keep cookies that help websites remember your settings. 

This “privacy mode” on your web browser is not so much browsing privately. It’s more your browser will erase your tracks after you’re done. These modes do not store the sites you visit in your browsing history. The associated files of those sites are not saved on your computer. They get deleted or removed immediately rather than whenever your web browser automatically removes this information. The dilemma is that a lot of the “spying” on your browsing is often happening in real-time.

The Benefits of Malware Blockers & Antivirus Software

Antivirus software can often be at the cutting edge of online protection. Spyware, malware, and adware blockers can locate a lot of the programs that track your browsing information.  Sometimes they can block all attempts to track where you’re surfing. 

Sign Out of Social Media 

When actively logged into social media there is software in place that can track where you are going. When you click on links in your social media profiles on apps they can see where you are going. This can let social media networks track where you are going and what you are looking at. How else can you explain the freakish amount of ads for things you casually search or talk about with friends on social media. 

Stay Dark with Tor

If you want to fully secure your web experience from tracking, surveillance and censorship consider the Tor Browser. Like Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari, Tor is a free web browser. But it keeps your browsing totally secret.  The Tor browser conceals your IP address every time you go online. This free process is layered with heavy-duty encryption, which means your data is layered with security and privacy protection and your surfing online is totally anonymous.

The Tor software protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world. It prevents somebody watching your internet connection from learning what sites you visit. Sometimes called “The Dark Web,” Tor does have its disadvantages. Tor can help you browse fully incognito, but the wrong step on the Dark Web could cause you to have worse malware infections and potential problems, so surf responsibly. 

Secure your IP Address with a VPN

A VPN or virtual private network can help you browse the internet privately. It’s simple enough to sign up for and can give you an added sense of security. It protects your online identity and can help you from potential attacks to your device or network when you sign into free wi-fi or while traveling. The VPN creates a special tunnel for your information to travel through where people can’t see it. 

With a VPN account, you can use the internet the way you always do. You simply have your activity tunneling through the VPN’s network of servers around the country or around the world. This means no one is sneaking a peak at what you’re looking at. A VPN is essentially a data network inside another network (the internet) that hackers can’t get to. It’s like a cloak for your browsing. 

Use DuckDuckGo As Your Search Engine 

Search engines can often sync up to your email, or other accounts. This can track what you search for across multiple accounts. DuckDuckGo eliminates all of that. They’re committed to online privacy and protecting what you’re searching for. 

So technically if you were using Tor, searching with DuckDuckGo, while you had an active VPN active and are not signed into social media and using antivirus software you would be pretty sure you’re browsing as securely as humanly possible. For more tips on protecting your privacy, check out What is My Ip Address’s 21 Day Privacy Challenge.

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