The internet, and to a large extent, the COVID-19 pandemic, has made most business transactions to be online; many people cannot go on without browsing the web in a day. However, some people don’t consider the inherent risk of browsing the web.
Every time you connect to the internet without proper security measures, you may expose your online activities to cyber criminals who can steal web browsing history, personal information, or payment data. You may erroneously believe that if you do private browsing, your data is secure; unfortunately, this is far from the truth; private browsing cannot guarantee your online privacy.
What does Private Browsing mean?
Private browsing is simply a feature you find in many modern-day major web browsers, and you can access the feature through the File menu. For instance:
- There is an Incognito mode in Google Chrome
- You have InPrivate Browsing in Microsoft Edge
- Safari comes with Private Browsing
- Firefox has Private Browsing
- Private tabs are built into Opera.
The essence of using private browsing to browse is to ensure that the browser does not save local data such as cookies, search history, or browser history. What many people fail to understand is that while the browser will not store information about your activities on your local device or computer, data will still be between your computer and your internet service providers (ISPs).
Another disadvantage arising from using private browsing is that an interested third party can detect traces of your browsing activities and use the information as an entry point into your operating system.
The assumption that when you browse with the private browsing mode, you are safe from viruses, malware, and hacking attempts because your browser does not store your financial details or passwords, and you are protected from fraud and theft is a fallacy. Your private browsing activities just like your other browsing activities rely on an internet protocol (IP) address that your internet service provider (ISP) supplies to work.
Since you still depend on your ISP for your IP address, a third party can still detect, access, and exploit the flaws in your browsing activities. Apart from your ISP, software bugs, browser extensions, and HTML5 APIs have been discovered previously as potential sources of accidental leaks through which third parties have gained access to individuals’ search and internet histories despite using the private browsing mode.
The options people fall upon to ensure wholesome protection, security, and anonymity is by subscribing to the services of virtual private network (VPN) providers. Alternatively, you can go for a VPN browser.
What is a VPN browser?
A VPN browser is a smooth and easy way to protect your browsing data while using the internet. When you use the ordinary VPN, you need to do the installation yourself; you may have to adjust your device setting for the VPN to work manually.
However, a VPN browser is already set to work, you just hit the click button, and you can start browsing safely. Your VPN browser extension is a simple plugin that you can turn on any time you want to surf the web; the only catch you have with a VPN browser extension is that it only protects your web browser.
For other apps and services on your device or computer, you will still need to install a native VPN app. Any time you go online, your internet service provider (ISP) provides the connection you need; this necessitates the ISP to keep track of your activities via your IP address; your web traffic must pass through your ISP’s servers, and they can log in and observe your activities online.
How does a VPN browser extension protect your privacy?
Like your native VPN, a VPN browser extension encrypts your internet traffic and masks your identity any time you are online; this makes it harder for a third party to detect your activities, gain entry, and steal your data. What we have observed from happenings in the world is that you can have rouge operators in different spheres of global activities; your ISP may seem trustworthy, but can go rouge and hand over your browsing history to advertisers, third parties, the police, or other government agencies.
According to Statista, 70% of organizations worldwide consider security breach and data leaks as their biggest threat in 2022. If your organization’s gets breached and hacked, employees’ and customers’ personal and private data will be compromised. The situation becomes more serious for people who depend largely on public Wi-Fi networks.
With public Wi-Fi networks, it’s more difficult to keep prying eyes with malicious intent who want to steal any of your passwords, personal data, and even your whole identity away.
The following are what you should expect from a good VPN browser extension:
- Encryption of IP address – Your VPN browser extension must hide your IP address from your ISP and any other third party; you will send and receive information with any risk of prying eyes seeing it.
- Encryption of logs – A VPN browser extension must ensure you don’t leave a trail that will reveal your internet history, search history, and cookies; encrypting cookies ensures that third parties do not see your sensitive information such as personal details, financial information, and any other content submitted to websites that you don’t want to be tracked.
- Kill switch – If your VPN connection drops unexpectedly, your secure will experience a downtime too, but a good VPN browser will detect this unexpected drop and will reduce the chances of data compromise by aborting preselected programs.
- Multifactor authentication – A good VPN browser comes with a diverse range of authentications to verify the authenticity of anyone trying to log in; it can demand for password, after which a code is sent to the individual’s mobile device for verification and confirmation.