Surfin’ the web like a ninja
If you are the kind of person who is – understandably – paranoid about web security, you probably like to search the web using your browser’s privacy mode. Most browsers keep a detailed history of the pages you’ve visited, making it easy for you to find and revisit sites you’ve seen before and for the browser to recover your pages if it crashes.
However, privacy-conscious users may choose to select a private browsing mode. Pretty much all browsers have one. Chrome’s is called Incognito. Safari and Firefox both have Private Browsing. And Microsoft’s new Edge browser has a mode called InPrivate. When using these private browsers, there is no record kept of your site history. After you close your browser, it’s as though you were never online.
MS Edge’s InPrivate mode stores your history
Ironically, it was recently revealed that Edge’s InPrivate mode does the exact opposite of what it’s supposed to do. Tech nerds discovered that an Edge user’s browsing history is visible in a WebCache file, whether or not the user has activated InPrivate mode. By digging into the WebCache file, it’s an alarmingly easy process to figure out someone’s browsing history.
Said Ashish Singh of Forensic Focus, “in the case of Microsoft Edge even the private browsing isn’t as private as it seems. Previous investigations of the browser have resulted in revealing that websites visited in private mode are stored in the browser’s WebCache file.”
Microsoft claims it will be fixed
Apparently the browsing history is stored in this WebCache file to help recover pages if your private session crashes. However, InPrivate mode should delete this information if it wants to do what it claims.
Microsoft has been notified, and released a statement saying that “We recently became aware of a report that claims InPrivate tabs are not working as designed, and we are committed to resolving this as quickly as possible.” However, there is no indication of exactly when the problem will be corrected.
In the meantime, if you are worried about your privacy, you may want to switch to another browser.