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If 2020 wasn’t known as the year of the pandemic, it would be definitely known for its meteoric rise in cyberattacks. It has certainly been a year of innovation for new threat patterns to emerge. If you are not worried about protecting your privacy online, then you have definitely missed a beat. According to recent data, 64% of Americans would like their browser to offer greater protection of their privacy. Awareness about data privacy and risks associated with open browsing are definitely on the rise as 46% of Americans have used private browsing at least once in their life. Clearly, users are becoming aware of the risks associated with standard web-browsing on public Wi-Fi connections that leaves a bread crumb of a data trail from all their web searches, transactions, and other private information exposed to third parties including internet service providers, government agencies, advertisers, data brokers and more. To minimize the extent of data exposure, Managed IT Services New Jersey suggests switching to private browsing options provided by some of the most popular web browsers.

What is Private Browsing?

Most popular web browsers today offer the private browsing feature. Essentially this is a feature that lets you keep your temporary browsing data private. This ensures that even when you’re connected to the Internet and browsing through websites, your browser will not store browser history, search history, or local data such as cookies.

Google Chrome is a popular browser that continues to retain the largest share (51%) of the US market and 61% of the mobile browser market share. Apple Safari is not far behind with 32.8% of users preferring to use Safari across desktop and mobile devices. Google is still king among search engines with 93% of all Internet searches being directed through it. Fortunately, all of the popular browsers offer some form of private browsing.

Some of the most popular private browsing options available on browsers are:

  • Google Chrome has Incognito mode
  • Microsoft Edge has InPrivate Browsing
  • Safari has Private Browsing
  • Firefox has Private Browsing
  • Opera has private tabs built-in

Why should you use private browsing options?

When you own a house, it is with the understanding that your activities inside the premises will remain hidden from prying eyes – whether you’re taking a shower, or doing an ungainly two-step to a famous number from the 60s. Until a decade or so ago, that used to be true of electronic devices as well. Most of your data created on the device stayed on it unless you willingly shared it over a network, such as an Intranet or, the Internet.

Unfortunately, data has become such a primary driver in our everyday lives that no data is really private anymore – as long as the device is capable of connecting to the Internet. Everyone, from the zillions and zillions of advertisers and data brokers to all of your social network channels, your Internet service provider and even your government wants a piece of the data that you create and consume every day. Cybersecurity New Jersey can help protect your data privacy and integrity with extensive tools and resources.

private browsing

Data has essentially become the medium through which we know about a person and the only way people can sell you (more and better) products and services is by knowing you thoroughly. The reason most browsers use cookies and store some data about your online activities and searches is really to offer conveniences, such as foster logins, better recommendations and more. But if this information is shared with third parties, intentionally or otherwise, it becomes a huge security liability. This is why privacy has become such an endangered concept in our digital lives. We have very little control over how our information flow is observed, our data collected, analyzed and distributed by others who harvest our data for their own agendas (financial or otherwise). Personal information and personally identifiable information have tremendous value for all third parties, including cybercriminals who would love to make a profit at the expense of their privacy. Private browsing prevents this temporary data storage, offers tracking protection, and even helps you hide your location. Refer to IT Support New York for more resources on keeping your digital activities private.

Finding Your Browser's Private Browsing Mode

Here’s a quick guide on how to enable private browsing on any web browser:

Private browsing in Google Chrome

    • Google Chrome’s Incognito Mode doesn’t save your browsing history, cookies, site data, or information you enter on forms. It however continues to maintain all downloaded files and bookmarks.

How to turn on Incognito Mode on your computer, Android, iPhone or iPad:

    • Click on the Tools menu in the upper right corner on Chrome browser.
    • Open a new private browsing window by clicking on “New Incognito Window”.
    • To enable the action from your keyboard, you can press Control+Shift+N.

Private browsing in Apple Safari

    • Apple continues to enhance its privacy features on every product including its browser. Safari’s private browsing mode removes all temporary files including browsing history, form data, and cookies immediately when the window is closed.

To enable private browsing on a Mac

    • Open Safari. Go to the menu bar and choose “File.”
    • Click on the option labeled “Private Window”.
    • For a keyboard shortcut, press Shift+Command+N.

To enable private browsing on Safari while on an iPhone or iPad:

    • Tap the new tab icon in the lower right corner of the screen. Click “Private” to open a private window.

Private browsing in Mozilla Firefox

    • Mozilla Firefox offers a private browsing mode with enhanced tracking protection. This essentially protects your browsing history from being harvested by third parties.

How to access private browsing in Firefox:

    • Tap the new tab icon in the lower right corner of the screen. Click “Private” to open a private window.

To enable private browsing on Safari while on an iPhone or iPad:

    • Tap the new tab icon in the lower right corner of the screen. Click “Private” to open a private window.

Private browsing in Mozilla Firefox

    • Mozilla Firefox offers a private browsing mode with enhanced tracking protection.
      This essentially protects your browsing history from being harvested by third parties.

How to access private browsing in Firefox:

  • Open Firefox. Browse through options on the menu bar in the upper right corner and select “New Private Window.”
  • This opens up a new private window with a purple mask icon in the top right.
  • As always, you can also use the keyboard shortcut: Control+Shift+N for Windows computers or Command+Shift+N for Mac systems.
  • Your new private window has a purple band across it. You can click on that to turn on additional tracking protections.

Private browsing in Opera incognito

    • Opera’s private browsing mode offers an additional feature that lets you turn on its own VPN connection for better protection.

To enable Opera incognito:

    • Open the Opera browser. Click the menu in the upper left corner.
    • Choose “New Private Window” to open a private browsing window.

Private browsing in Microsoft Edge

    • Edge is the default browser for Windows 10 and is available for MacOS as well. Its private browsing mode is called InPrivate.
    • Click on the menu at the upper right of your browser window. Click on New InPrivate window.
    • Use your keyboard to enter Ctrl-Shift-N (Windows) or Command-Shift-N (macOS) to open an InPrivate window.

InPrivate browsing in Internet Explorer

    • Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Edge both offer the InPrivate browsing option. InPrivate browsing doesn’t save the pages you visit, data entered on web forms or web searches. However, downloaded files and bookmarks are saved. All installed third-party bars, along with extensions also get disabled when the private browsing window is closed.

How to access InPrivate browsing on Internet Explorer:

  • Open Internet Explorer. Go to the upper right corner and click on the gear icon.
  • Click on “Safety”.
  • Choose “InPrivate Browsing”.
Chris Forte

Chris Forte

Chris Forte, President and CEO of Olmec Systems, has been in the MSP workspace for the past 25 years. Chris earned his Master’s Degree from West Virginia University, graduating Magna Cum Laude. He was a past member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, a current member of the New Jersey Power Partners and Executive Association of New Jersey, where he has previously served on its board of directors. In his spare time, Chris enjoys traveling with his family. He also admits to being a struggling golfer and avid watcher of college football and basketball. He currently lives in Boonton Township, NJ with his wife, two daughters, son, and black lab Luna.

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