Most browsers these days include an “incognito” or private browsing mode, which, in theory, does not store anything related to your browsing activities on the computer they were used on. Its purpose is to add some level of privacy, especially for a computer that is accessed by multiple users. The newest web browser on the block, Microsoft Edge, also has that feature, which it calls “inPrivate” mode. However, it turns out that browsing in that mode might not be a completely private activity after all.
Supposedly when in this private browsing mode, the user’s browsing history, temporary files, cookies, and other traces of browsing activity isn’t stored anywhere on the PC. This would make it harder for web sites to track you using cookies but, more importantly, also remove any trace of your presence locally. However, according to Forensic Focus researcher Ashish Singh, Microsoft Edge’s inPrivate feature actually doesn’t work as advertised.
Based on his findings, Edge actually still stored relevant information in Windows’ WebCache file even after the browsing session has ended. This cache file contained evidence of a website that was visited in inPrivate mode. Furthermore, according to Singh, the “Container_n” table actually held the browser history in that supposedly private browsing mode. That’s the same table that normally contains tab history in regular mode.
Now, some might say that once someone else has physical access to your computer, all bets are off. But features like inPrivate mode were designed specifically so that even in that case, unauthorized users won’t be easily able to glean private information at your expense. In this case, the Edge browser makes it almost too easy to do so.
To its credit, Microsoft claims that it has just received notice of the issue and is looking into it. It shouldn’t take long, however, as there has also been independent confirmation of the bug. Thanks to Microsoft’s new update policy, users won’t have to wait too long for a fix either.