Incognito Mode can be seen, but Google has a fix

Chris Burns - Feb 18, 2019, 11:26 am CDT
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Incognito Mode can be seen, but Google has a fix

Incognito Mode in Google Chrome (aka Private Mode) will be better in the near future – in a set of ways. Those that’ve used this mode in the past likely used it to avoid being tracked for advertisements and/or to make sure what they were looking at wasn’t part of their internet browser history. Today it’s become clear that there was an open exploit in the system – one that’s being rectified by Google right this minute.

The flaw had to do with the detection of incognito mode on the side of the web developer. Using the FileSystem API, Google incognito mode in Chrome stopped websites from saving temporary data in the device of the user. If the web developer set a simple check for this API’s use, they’d be able to see if the user were in incognito mode.

Because this mode stops the tracking of the movements of the user, many web developers have taken to blocking their content from said users. This isn’t a major issue for most users, as they’ll more often than not just get their web browsing done at an alternate website. For those that wish to make incognito mode work as it was meant to work, a code change needed to be made.

With the latest set of commits in Google Chrome, it’s clear that Google developers are making some changes to fix this miss. With the latest set of updates, Google will (likely) set incognito mode up to use a virtual file storage system that works (on the dev end) much like a real file storage system would. The only difference is an immediate delete of all data – once the user leaves the site.

If you’d like to get ahold of this system update as fast as possible, you’ll want to dip in on a nightly build with Chrome Canary. There you’ll also be able to roll with the latest updates from the developers of Chrome, and have access to feature that might never come to the final version. You can also head to Google Play for Canary for Android. If you’re using iOS, you’ll just have to wait a while – maybe a few weeks? We shall see.


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