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August 9, 2010

Private browsing not so private after all

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by Janet Harris

The private browsing option offered by Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari may not be keeping users’ browsing history as private as it should do.

The private mode is supposed to make sure that no information is recorded about the sites visited, but security experts from Stanford University in California have found that tracks can be left behind.

There are several ways that this can happen, with each browser failing in specific areas, usually when plug-ins or add-ons are being used, or when extra security is used on websites.

The researchers suggest that web sites should indicate in some way that they respect the private mode.

The findings will be discussed at the Usenix Security Symposium in Washington next week.

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