Using the private browsing feature on the Internet has some benefits but it won’t necessarily protect your computer. When you turn on private browsing, certain actions and sites that you visit are blocked from others to see. However, it does not provide complete protection.
There are a number of reasons why you may want to use private browsing when you surf the Net or visit certain sites. It is important, however, to understand exactly what private browsing means so that you do not expect it to perform functions that it cannot.
What does private browsing protect?
Private browsing is the best protection if there are multiple users of one computer and you want to keep your browsing history private. When you use private browsing, you are able to browse the Web without certain information being saved. This information includes the pages and websites that you have visited.
When private browsing is in place, some information may be stored while you are online, which ensures that the Web pages will function correctly. Once you close your browsing session, however, all of this information is deleted.
The information that is temporarily kept includes temporary Internet files, cookies, DOM storage, and anti-phishing cache. Information that is not stored at all under private browsing includes AutoComplete search and address bar, webpage history, passwords, and form data.
Private browsing allows you to search the Internet and keep your data and history private from other people who may use your computer. It is definitely a good idea to turn on private browsing if you are using a public computer.
Does private browsing make you anonymous?
You may be under the impression that private browsing will keep your online identification completely secret. This is not the case. The service provider that you use for your Internet service can still see which pages or sites you visit. Also, when you visit a particular website, it is able to track where you visit and keep a record of your interests.
If you are using a work computer, your employer is also able to see where you are visiting online. So can anyone else who is using the same network as you. For example, if you work for a company that bans employees from using Facebook, turning on private browsing will not prevent your employer from knowing that you are visiting the site.
Why doesn’t private browsing protect your computer?
Private browsing may help prevent other users from seeing your browsing history, but your computer remains unprotected. The reason for this is that private browsing does not protect your computer from any spyware that is possibly installed on it.
Spyware is the name for software that is used to gather personal information without a person’s consent or knowledge. This information is then used for a variety of different things.
Used in a malicious matter, spyware can collect personal information such as user logins, passwords, and credit card or bank account information. This can then be used for identity theft or financial ruin.
In terms of your computer, spyware can do harm to it as well. It can redirect Web browsers or install unwanted software, which can interfere with the use of the computer. Spyware can also change the settings of your computer, which may result in software setting changes, modifications in browser settings, and sluggish Internet connection speeds.
There is a way to protect your computer from spyware attacks. There are a number of options for anti-spyware software. This software can protect your computer from viruses and other threats. Even if you currently have spyware on your computer, installing anti-virus software will find it and delete it so that it can’t cause any more damage.
How can you turn on private browsing?
If you would like to use private browsing on the computer you are using, it is easy to turn on, whether you are using Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox. When you are ready to get onto the Internet, open either Web browser normally.
If you are using Internet Explorer, search the toolbar for the Safety button. Click it and then choose InPrivate Browsing. This will allow you to search without keeping a history.
With Firefox, click on Tools and find Start Private Browsing. Click on this and you will be presented with a new window to start your private browsing.
If you would like to turn off the private browsing feature, follow the same steps to turn it off. Remember that, once it is turned off, other users will be able to see what sites and pages you look at from that point forward.
Using your computer in private browsing mode can be beneficial. In order to completely protect you, however, you need to take other steps to cover your tracks. Invest in anti-spyware to protect your computer and make sure you are on secured sites before you enter any private information such as passwords or financial account numbers.