Chrome v Edge v Firefox: Your private browsing might not be as safe as you think

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A new study has been released that looks at how much of a digital footprint leading internet browsers leave behind in private browsing modes. Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Apple’s Safari and Mozilla Firefox all offer their own take on private browsing. But with so many options to choose from which is the best option for security-conscious web surfers?

VPNOverview looked at the four leading browsers players to find out how much of a digital footprint different browsers leave behind in private mode.

And the study found all four browsers will leave behind some evidence of a private browsing session.

First up is Google Chrome which boasts the most famous private browsing mode of all – Incognito mode.

In terms of what Incognito protects you from, when you browse in this mode Chrome won’t store the files you download nor will it save your browsing history.

But if you’re using Incognito on a work computer you need to be aware that any files you download in this private browsing mode will still be saved to your computer.

Which could leave you feeling red faced if you download any compromising material which your boss later finds on your machine.

Even in Incognito mode your browsing activity and location may still be visible to your internet provider, whoever runs the network you’re using (whether that’s your employer or school etc.) as well as websites you sign in to and pages you visit.

Incognito mode will also allow web services, search engines or internet providers to see a user’s IP address, which can be used to identify the area a user is generally located in.

Google Chrome explain how users can view extension data

Microsoft’s Edge browser, which is built with Google’s Chromium source code, has a private browsing mode known as inPrivate.

Like with Chrome, Edge’s private browsing mode will hide your browsing activity on your device.

And the Privacy Statement for this mode says Edge will only collect data that you’ve consented to providing.

But despite this, VPNOveriew says Edge’s inPrivate mode won’t hide your browsing activity from your internet provider, school or workplace.

While collections, favourites and downloaded files will be saved and synced across all your signed-in devices.

Safari, once again, won’t save a user’s search history when they’re surfing the web in Private Mode.

But a user’s IP address can still be visible to any website or service you use, your ISP can still see your search history and your private browsing session will still leave your internet activity exposed to your school or your employer, the study says.

Finally, Firefox has one big selling point when it comes to privacy – it’s Do Not Track feature.

This feature means users can opt out of being tracked by websites they visit, which helps them clampdown on the amount of data different sites are collecting.

Firefox has long been sold as the ‘best browser for privacy’, and like the other browsers mentioned has its own dedicated private browsing mode.

But, like these other browsers, even when in private browsing mode you won’t be anonymous to websites or ISPs, any downloads from a private browsing session will remain on your PC and any bookmark you make will remain in your list once you leave the session.

On the plus side though, any cookies are discarded at the end of each private browsing session in Firefox.

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