Common Myths about Private Browsing

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Private Browsing is a useful feature of Firefox, but only if you understand the protection it offers. It helps you obscure your online activity from other people who use Firefox on your computer, but does not make you invisible online.

Myth 1: Private Browsing makes you anonymous on the internet.

Reality: Private Browsing does not mask your identity or activity online. Websites can still gather information about your visit, even if you are not signed in, and so can internet service providers. If you use your device at work your company may be able to monitor the websites you visit. Or, if you surf the web at home, your cable company or their partners may have access to your browsing information.

Myth 2: Private Browsing removes all traces of your browsing activity from your computer.

Reality: Private Browsing works by removing cookies, browsing history, and passwords stored while you are browsing once you close your Private Window. If you download a file from a website it will remain on your computer, though it will not appear in the download manager in Firefox. Also, if you bookmark a site while in a Private Window, it will remain in your bookmark list.

Myth 3: Private Browsing doesn’t display any browsing history.

Reality: Private Browsing will, by default, display visited sites and bookmarks as you type in the address bar. These are the URLs saved to Firefox during normal browsing. If you don’t want to see these suggestions, you can deselect them in your Firefox OptionsPreferences Privacy & Security panel.

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Myth 4: Private Browsing will protect you from keystroke loggers and spyware.

Reality: Private Browsing does not protect you from malware installed on your computer. If you suspect you have malware, take steps to remove it and prevent it from happening again.

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