Private Browsing: What It Is Not

The benefits of private browsing are many. It can help you to browse the Internet in a slightly safer manner when on a public computer and can even help you to get better prices on travel sites. That having been said, private browsing has its limitations. Let’s discuss a few things that private browsing mode cannot protect you from.

Activity Monitoring

If you think you can get away with goofing off at work by turning on private browsing mode, you have another thing coming. Your computer may not be saving your history, but it won’t stop you from being monitored by an external source. The network admin at work can still keep an eye on what you are doing. The same holds true at home. Your wife won’t be able to check your history from your computer, but your Internet service provider (ISP) will still know every site you have been to and every file that has been downloaded.


Private browsing mode is not a means of keeping you from getting hacked. Someone can’t just jump on your computer behind you and log into your accounts, but they can still siphon data if you are using a public Wi-Fi connection.


There are many types of malware that can grab information from you as you use your machine. If such software has been downloaded onto your computer, which often occurs without notice, private browsing mode will not protect your privacy.

More Is Needed Than Private Browsing

Clearly, private browsing mode has its limits. There are many solutions that you can utilize to protect yourself from things that private browsing cannot protect you from. For example, a private VPN (virtual private network) can keep your data safe while connected to a public network. Keeping all of your software up to date can protect you from hackers and malware that generally depend on security gaps that are fixed in the updates. Also, you can avoid most malware by not agreeing to download anything unless you are sure of its source. General online common sense will protect you from more of these concerns than anything else.

Just remember that as useful as private browsing is in many situations, it is not effective for keeping your data protected.