Everyone concerned about their privacy online – we're hoping that's everyone – might want to reconsider using Microsoft's Edge private browsing mode. It doesn't work the way it's supposed to work.
When a user opts to venture into the darker depths of the Internet via Edge, Microsoft's latest Web browser in Windows 10, the browser displays an "InPrivate Browsing" label on the active window. Now that's supposed to keep the browser from keeping a history of a user's online activity while in that mode.
It seems, however, that that isn't the case after all in Microsoft's Edge browser. It's been recently discovered that even if a user activates Edge's InPrivate browsing mode, the application still stores a user's browsing history.
Ashish Singh, the researcher who discovered the sketchy feature in Edge's InPrivate browsing mode, calls it an "Edge-y Loophole."
"In the case of Microsoft Edge even the private browsing isn't as private as it seems. Previous investigations of the browser have resulted in revealing that websites visited in private mode are also stored in the browser's WebCache file," Singh reveals.
A smart enough person lurking around the "Container_n" table that stores the browser's Web history will know that a website flagged with a value of "8" indicates that the website was visited in private.
"Therefore," Singh points out, "the not-so-private browsing featured by Edge makes its very purpose seem to fail."
Edge isn't the only browser to have been caught doing the same thing. All the other major browsers such Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer have been vulnerable to deep-diving attackers trying to uncover other users' online activity. If anything, InPrivate browsing is about privacy and not security – if those things can be viewed separately.
Nonetheless, users are free to surf the Web in the browser of their choice. Unfortunately, Windows 10 will bug users once in a while to use Edge. Those who would rather not get pestered by Windows to use Edge and/or would rather be safe than sorry and use another browser anyway, can actually block Edge completely on their machines.
It can all be done in three simple steps within Windows 10's settings. First, users have to dig their way through the Settings menu. From there, users have to click into System, then Default apps. Finally, users just need to find Web Browser from the list, click on Edge and pick another default browser instead.
To complete the process and make sure Microsoft never sneaks Edge back into the system, users can download a free application called Edge Blocker. Once downloaded, users can simply unpack the program and run it. Once Edge Blocker starts up, a nice big "Block" button appears to let the program do what it does best, and probably for our better interests, too.