But there is a tradeoff to constant connectivity. Every time you access the web, you're being tracked. Regardless of whether you're a Chrome addict, an IE devotee or a Firefox fan, default browser settings follow, track and record all your activity as you traverse the internet, thanks to invisible bits of code placed by tracking firms for marketing purposes, like targeted ad campaigns. In fact, new research from Princeton and Stanford Universities shows that these firms can easily link your name to your online activity, essentially building a complete profile of you and your online activities -- even when that information is supposed to be anonymous.
Incognito Mode -- A Security Cure-All?
To combat growing concerns about privacy, many home and corporate users alike set their browsers to Incognito Mode. All browsers have some sort of Incognito Mode built in and, when enabled, these modes prevent the browser from storing internet history, such as cookies and sites visited.
Incognito Mode is a decent starting point to minimize the effects of tracking, but it’s only one small part of the picture. Even in this mode, your sessions are still tracked by your ISP (internet service provider) and you're still broadcasting your IP address to every site you visit.
Moreover, Incognito Mode won't prevent malware from targeting your device/computer and ultimately, your corporate network. The truth is that malware like Trojans and ransomware really don't care what mode you're using to browse; once you click a malicious link, it will begin collecting data, or worse, install backdoors to gain admin level access to private company data, regardless of your browser settings.
When it comes to providing web access without compromising your privacy and the security of your data, there are methods that are much more effective than Incognito Mode. Incorporated into a company-wide cyber security initiative, these tools will help put an end to a large number of the online threats companies may face. Here are some examples:
VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks: VPNs create a secure, encrypted “tunnel” from one network to another, such as Private Internet Access.
Ad and tracking blockers: Blockers like Privacy Badger and Disconnect Me eliminate ads which contain a tracking factor from displaying on your webpage.
Secure search engines: Secure search engines such as duckduckgo and Ixquick don't collect your queries or share them with anyone.
Private browsers: Private browsers like Comodo or the famed TOR don't share information with Google.
Remote browser isolation: Browser-borne malware costs companies an average of $3.2 million per year and research from the Ponemon Institute at IBM shows that more than 75% of companies have lost data due to insecure browsers.
To use the web without risking exposure, leading analysts suggest using isolated browsing technology. A relative newcomer to the security landscape, it protects organizational digital assets from being exposed to web-borne threats such as ransomware, adware and other types of malware.
Browser isolation works by preventing browser-based processes from interacting directly with your device or network. Each time a user opens a browser tab, a new virtual container is spun up, and all activity takes place in that virtual contained environment. All web content is rendered remotely and the end user receives an entirely safe and seamless visual interactive stream.
At the end of each session, the remote container is discarded, so that any malware that may have entered is eradicated and your networks stay clear of all potential malware. The end user gets a pristine browsing experience that is secured and streamlined.
With all the threats to your data and security out there, it’s clear that Incognito Mode isn't going to save you. Sure, it may seem like a decent “quick fix”, but it’s an illusion that can leave you and your data vulnerable. Achieving a truly protected environment is dependant on employing a mix of tools such as those mentioned above to create a layered approach to security. Using a layered approach doesn’t merely create an illusion of security, it fortifies your defense from within. And when it comes to maintaining control of your data, it’s clear that the illusion provided by Incognito Mode just won't cut it.