Granny Ruth knows that the government spies on her. She knows there are hackers trying to steal her information. And that Facebook and Google are also after her data. But she has a plan up her sleeve. She uses incognito to hide her details and IP address from everyone.
It’s all good except one little flaw – incognito does not hide your IP address. So if you too want to stay protected from spying eyes, don’t be like Granny Ruth.
Let me explain this in detail. Let’s start by understanding what is incognito.
Incognito or private browsing is a browsing mode in most browsers in which the browser doesn’t record any history of the websites you have opened. In the regular mode (open the browser and start surfing the internet), your browser history is recorded and websites leave cookies on your device.
In contrast, the incognito mode does not record any website you have visited. While it does let websites save cookies on your device, it deletes them as soon as the session is exited. So it is like the cookies never existed.
So far, so good. But these are all device-specific features, which means it protects someone from spying on the browsing data on your device. What about your IP address?
As you might already know, if you visit a website, your IP address will be visible to that website. Even if you use incognito mode, it will still be visible. The only way to hide your IP address is to change the IP to something else.
You can do that using a VPN. When you use a VPN, your data gets encrypted. Also, it travels through another server so the website you visit will see the IP of that particular server and not your own.
Given that, is incognito totally useless?
Not really. There are many reasons why you would want to hide your online activities from someone who has access to your device. Maybe you don’t want your husband and kids to see your Christmas shopping. Maybe you don’t want your wife to find out that you have been looking at hot videos on YouTube. Different people, different reasons.
Whatever your reason is, if you want to hide your online activities from someone who has access to your device, make sure you use private browsing or incognito mode.
Another problem with incognito is that you might forget to switch to it – after all, the windows of regular and incognito browsing look pretty similar. To make sure this does not happen, you can use an incognito browser.
For that, you can use a safe browser like Kingpin. It works just like any regular browser (like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox), except it is always in incognito mode so you don’t have to specifically switch to it.
It makes sure all your browsing is private to you. You can even hide all your tabs in just a click and it will ask for a PIN to unlock the tabs. Apart from that, it will also block ads for you.
So far, so good for hiding local data.
But this will not hide your IP. For that, you’ll need to use either a VPN or Tor. Also, if you download a file in incognito mode, it will be there on your device and will not be deleted when you exit the session.
Will a VPN hide your data on Facebook?
No. Whatever you post on Facebook will be available to the Facebook company. They can use that data to throw targeted ads your way. So how do you stay protected?
So you want to voice your opinion on Facebook but also don’t want the website to use your data. Simple solution – make a fake ID, use a VPN, use an incognito browser, and don’t upload your pics.
Using just one thing will not keep you safe. Facebook doesn’t steal your data from ONE source. Also, make sure you turn off your phone’s mic for the Facebook app.
Now let’s discuss Google.
What if you use Duck Duck Go instead of Google? Well, yes, that’s a private search engine so it won’t track you the way Google does. But it WILL see your IP address. That is if you’re not using a VPN.
While we do recommend using Duck Duck Go instead of Google (because it’s a private search engine), that alone will not suffice. You’ll need to leave every Google related service.
Are you using Gmail? Maybe switch to Proton Mail.
Are you using YouTube? Maybe switch to Vimeo.
Are you using Google Chrome? Maybe switch to the Kingpin browser.
There are so many Google services we use every single day without realizing how much of our data it is stealing and creating a user map of it. While there is no one service that can replace Google, you’ll need to rely on several on them.
Can you make your browsing more secure by adding more browser extensions?
The next thing to discuss is browser extensions. You might think adding a VPN extension along with ad blocker extensions and tab locking plugins might make your browser more secure. But the truth is that with each extension you make your browser fingerprint more prominent.
Browser fingerprinting – that’s another thing websites check when you visit them.
When you visit a website, it can see your browser along with the extensions on it. So the more extensions you add, the more unique your browser will be, and it will be easier to identify it. It’s always best to use a single browser with no extensions to avoid being fingerprinted.
Instead of using a VPN extension, use the VPN app. Most VPN providers offer apps and it’s easy to download and install it.
Instead of using ad blocker and tab locking extensions, you can use the Kingpin browser that comes with these extensions inbuilt in it. So you don’t have to install extra plugins.
Also, since it operates in incognito as a default, you don’t have to remember switching to incognito each time you open a session. (You can easily imagine how harmful it will be if you forgot to switch to incognito while stalking your ex and your wife finds it out later!)
Don’t make the same mistake Granny Ruth made.
Use incognito AND a VPN. While incognito will protect you from local level spying, a VPN will protect you from the government, your ISP, and hackers spying on you.
Keep in mind that when you use a VPN, you should use a paid one. Since free VPNs don’t offer enough security, you can’t rely on them. Besides, who knows if a VPN is run by a hacker group? When you use a VPN, the people running it can see all your activities. This is why it’s important to get services from only the people you trust.