The 3 Dangers of Using Incognito Mode

Understanding what "Incognito Mode" means

When you go on the Internet and you do not want your cookies or browsing history to be saved where do you go? Drumroll... You go into an incognito browser tab. When we hear the word "incognito" we think that nobody can see what we are doing. When it comes to the Internet this is simply not the case. "Incognito" on the Internet simply means the websites you visit do not save cookies or your browsing history. Your Internet provider still has access to your browsing history. In addition, there are other hidden risks that come with using incognito mode.

What are the dangers of using incognito mode?

1. Advertisers still have the ability to know everything

Imagine that incognito mode is a door leading to a room with all of your private searches. When you open an incognito tab you enter that door and shut it behind you. Whenever you close that tab the door disappears and nobody else on that device can see your searches. You think that it's gone for good, but that's not necessarily the case.

When the advertising companies want to get in that door, your Internet provider can put up a sign next to the door that says "here are all their private searches - come one, come all" and they open the door for the advertisers. Even in incognito mode, advertisers can access information you searched for privately and use it to target ads for you. Not only do advertisers know who you are but they know where you are too. This may seem harmless but these advertisers use this information to build a profile of you.

Does your Internet provider give the advertisers this information out of the kindness of their heart? No. Your Internet provider sells your information and unfortunately, there is nothing that incognito mode can do to stop it.

2. You are still vulnerable to malware attacks

What is Malware? Malware stands for malicious software. Essentially this is any piece of software that was written with the intent of damaging devices, stealing data, and anything else that can mess with your computer. Trojans, viruses, spyware, and ransomware are various forms of malware. Using incognito mode does not give you any extra layers of protection so you are still vulnerable to malware. Malware can siphon your bandwidth and steal your personal information so it is best to avoid malware at every turn.

Here are some scary numbers to help you understand how deadly malware is. 350,000 new pieces of malware are detected every day. In 2020, there are nearly 1.07 billion malware programs on the Internet and that number has more than doubled from the number of total malware in 2015.

Growth of total malware on the Internet 2011-2020

Image Credits: av-test.org

While some malware can cause slight annoyances with your computer, some are a serious threat to your security and it is important to understand what incognito mode can and cannot do.

  1. Can do - Clear caches and cookies after you close the tab
  2. Cannot do - Provide you with any form of protection from malware attacks or hackers

3. Your IP address is not hidden

It is important to understand that going incognito is not a security feature. It is a privacy feature. Going incognito localizes all your cache for the session and removes it once you close the tab, but no extra layer of security is added.
Additionally Your IP address is not hidden so you are just as vulnerable as somebody who is not in an incognito tab

Refresher: What is an IP Address?

An Internet Protocol address, commonly known as an IP address, is a unique address that is attached to all of the online activity you do. Think of an IP Address as a return address on a letter that you would send out.

So what?

So what if somebody has your IP Address? Well, the answer to that can be quite scary.

  1. Hackers and other cyber-criminals can sell your IP address and personal information about you on the dark web.
  2. Your personal information could be distributed anywhere on the planet and your privacy would be non-existent
  3. They could DDos your network and make it very difficult to load anything

Refresher: What does DDoS mean?

A distributed denial of service (DDoS) is when somebody decides to flood a targeted server with a massive amount of traffic so the server becomes overwhelmed and it prevents the user from accessing the Internet.

How do I stop this from happening?

You just read a lot of scary information about the Internet and incognito mode. The Internet is constantly at war between the users of the Internet and the people that want to take advantage of the users of the Internet.
You need something you protect your information. That is where the VPN comes into play.

What is a VPN?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a network that extends across a public network and allows users to send and receive data in a secure way.

In understandable terms, a VPN is essentially a suit of armor that protects your online information. The Internet is a constant battleground and it is important for you to be well-protected.

A VPN can protect you from malware attacks and hackers attempting to use your IP address. A VPN allows you to constantly change your IP address that provides a massive layer of security and data privacy. It does this by creating a connection between a different server somewhere else in the world and your computer, in which you can access the internet through (I like to think of a VPN as a tunnel).


Support a free and open Internet. Get FreePN, a completely free, unlimited-bandwidth VPN.
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