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The company I work for has disabled Incognito mode for Chrome (but allows InPrivate windows for Edge) and when I enquired why, I was told it was for security reasons.

As a developer, I find Incognito mode handy for debugging websites as sessions aren't shared between modes.

Aside from not storing the browser history, are there any negative security implications of someone using an Incognito tab over a regular tab?

  • does you company require some sort of extension/modification on the normal chrome? – dandavis Sep 26 '18 at 15:59
  • @dandavis - Even if they did, extensions can be enabled for Incognito mode as well. – Mr. Llama Sep 26 '18 at 16:21
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    I'm not sure they understand Incognito mode – flerb Sep 26 '18 at 18:12
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    I'm not sure why you stopped asking when the answer was "security reasons". If that answer is true, then you should ask them what those reasons are. – schroeder Sep 26 '18 at 18:51
  • @dandavis as far as I'm aware, we don't use any extensions in Chrome. Aside from a few oddities like this, the dev systems are quite unlocked. – Dark Hippo Sep 27 '18 at 10:18
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Incognito mode (if not properly configured) can disable some extensions, if your company is disabling it via some sort of GAPPS mgmt or via GPO then they should be able to force the settings to force the extensions to run.

Besides, the simple answer of it might break something and they just chose to disable it instead of answering questions, i couldn't tell you why, especially if they allow inprivate on edge

  • Far as I'm aware, there's no extensions that the company push into our versions of Chrome (at least, nothing that shows up). I believe it's pushed out via group policy as a registry setting, as I can actually change it and get incognito mode back if I really want to (and don't get found out) – Dark Hippo Sep 27 '18 at 10:24
  • Personally, I don't bother with incognito mode, If I have security or privacy concerns I lock down a browser (typically a branch of chrome or firefox) to prevent security breaches as best as possible - preventing cookies, third-party cookies, no history saving etc. If you have a properly managed security system at your org. then they can see everything you are browsing and are doing anyways. – Matt Sep 27 '18 at 12:30
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It could be security-related, but not the same security you and I think of when discussing browser security. Incognito mode prevents cookies, localStorage, and history from being written to the company-owned computer's hard drive. It therefore makes forensic investigation of things like sabotage, ex-filtration, pornography, threats, etc more difficult, especially for organizations with limited resources. In some cases, an investigation into an incident is basically having the IT guy poke around the hard drive; if that's the case, incognito makes such an examination less fruitful.

While i'm sure a lot of experts on here will scoff and bring up infosec topics like custom certs, screen viewing software, nannyware, keycatchers and the like, many small businesses are lucky to get their systems up and running, while security is an incident-prompted afterthought. With a powerful overseer, incognito does little, but against mom and pop, it can be very effective.

As far was why edge gets the capability and chrome doesn't, I would guess that it's easier to administer/deploy a customized chrome than edge. If you still want to use incognito, consider using a portable app copy of a browser, which isn't bound by your companies IT restrictions.

  • It's not a small company I work for (sorry, probably should have put that in the question), but I understand your point. There is a fair amount of investment in cyber security, and we do have a few programs running on the development machines that do filtering / monitoring (though nothing as invasive as screen / key capture software) – Dark Hippo Sep 27 '18 at 10:22
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Incognito is not security related but privacy related. It is designed to allow you to safely borrow your friend's/coworker's laptop, do your stuff with personal accounts or xxx sites, and don't leave the other person connected to your identity. It has also the benefit of clearing history and cache.

Incognito's privacy mode is anyway weak. Very weak. And it is very well known, documented and designed.

Incognito

Not just your provider knows (and records) relevant traffic information, but your friend may be cheating you running a proxy.

Same is for companies. They can still record everything.

Disabling Incognito mode has no advantage for the company, especially if they don't also prevent you from clearing your local history whenever you like.

I have a good explanation for that: their IT doesn't understand what really Incognito is (@trogdor), they have received order from a non educated C-level officer who looked at the fancy icon, and forgot to disable Incognito in Edge

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