January 16, 2024. | Data security, Tips

How to set up a secure and private browser on desktop and phone

Privacy is a rare commodity in the online world. It feels like all you have to do is mention a new hobby is passing and your social media accounts are full of suggestions. Well, all browsers on phones and desktops offer the chance to set up a private browser. Here’s how… 

What is a private browser?

If you are using a private browser, when you search, your browser will not save your history. This means it won’t be able to track what you are looking at. Companies will therefore not be able to use that information for suggested adverts. Others won’t be able to login to your computer and see what you are searching for either.

Your passwords will also not be saved. 

However, it is not 100% private. Government agencies or your employer, if it’s a work laptop, will still be able to track your browsing activity. If you are on public Wi-Fi, your browsing may not be private. You are still susceptible to hackers and malware even in a private browser.

You’ll need something more robust than a privacy setting. A VPN ensures a higher degree of privacy from the likes of the government. 

Why use a private browser?

Without a private browser, you may find your passwords being saved. This is convenient on your computer, but not on shared computers. If you forget to log out of emails or another account, you can be sure that it isn’t open for the next user to view.

You can hide your history if you are buying a gift, for example. Or, if you are researching a topic you’d rather others not know you are looking into, like an illness or symptoms.

From a corporate perspective, you are obliged to protect client information. A failure to comply with client data protection could result in fines and other punitive measures. A private browser, particularly on a public network or a shared computer, will avoid the mistake of the next user being able to see what you are searching for, or if your password has been saved, logging in, and viewing client data.

A study by Consumer Reports found that ticket prices for flights may go up if the company can track your browser history and know that you frequently search for flights. So, a private browser may save you money on travel. 

How to set up a private browser

It is pretty easy to turn your browser to private, but it differs on each browser:

Google Chrome

  1. In Google Chrome, click on the three dots on the top right. This is the tools menu
  2. Select New Incognito Window

Safari

  1. Click on ‘File’ in the top left of the Safari browser
  2. Click on Private Window

Internet Explorer

  1. Click on the gear icon in the top right-hand corner of Internet Explorer
  2. Click on Safety
  3. Select InPrivate Browsing

Firefox

  1. In Firefox, click on the three horizontal lines in the top right-hand corner
  2. Click New Private Window
  3. There will be a purple mask icon in the top right-hand window to indicate you are now browsing privately

Opera

  1. Click on Menu in the top left corner of Opera
  2. Select New Private Window

iPhone (Safari)

  1. Click the new tab button in the bottom left-hand corner of Safari
  2. Click Private in the bottom left-hand corner 

For more helpful tips, keep an eye on our Insights page.

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