Private Time with Your Computer

“Private Browsing” was first induced on Apple’s Safari browser quite a few years ago. When activated by a user, private browsing prevents your web browser from retaining and cacheing information. Typically when you surf the Internet, your browser saves a lot of information including:

  • History – a list of pages you have visited.
  • Cookies – text files that are sent to your computer via your browser, from the server of the web site you are using. These can be sent for purposes such as authenticating your computer or for tracking your behavior. They are not bugs, malware, worms, or viruses, contrary to popular belief. 
  • Temp files & other cached items – Which could be anything from text to images, to code. It is possible for evil programs to hide in some of these. 

Basically, private browsing stops your computer from recording your history, cacheing, saving cookies, or temp files. For all intents and purposes, if someone were to look at your browsing history, it would appear that you did not go anywhere.

You should be aware of private browsing because it is about to become a ubiquitous feature for web browser. Some form of private browsing is already part of Apple Safari, Google Chrome, and the latest beta of Mozilla Firefox. It will also be a feature in Microsoft Internet Explorer 8.

*Private Browsing is not a default. You must turn it on each time you begin a browsing session.

*This is the most important part about private browsing, and the reason I wrote this post…

It will not protect your computer from viruses, malware, worms, or other forms of evil code!!!

This is crucial to understand because porn and other illicit sites that you may not want other people seeing you visit are among the most frequent carriers of viruses, malware, and worms.


Some other names for private browsing are:

  • Incognito (Google Chrome)
  • Stealth mode (the alleged final name for Mozilla Firefox)
  • InPrivate (Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 )
  • Porn mode (because that’s what it’s used for)
  • Privacy mode

This mode of browsing does have other uses than watching illicit material. It can be good to enable when checking your email on someone else’s computer. It might also come in handy if you are shopping for a gift for a special someone who uses your computer often. It is also a favorite of privacy freaks, regardless of what they are browsing. Some people just don’t like having a record of their actions.

Practice safe computing, even in porn mode.

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