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Browsers’ Private Mode: Is It What We Were Promised?

Blockpass ID Lab, School of Computing, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh EH10 5DT, UK
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Academic Editor: Wenbing Zhao
Computers 2021, 10(12), 165; https://doi.org/10.3390/computers10120165
Received: 15 October 2021 / Revised: 24 November 2021 / Accepted: 26 November 2021 / Published: 2 December 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Paper in Computers)
Web browsers are one of the most used applications on every computational device in our days. Hence, they play a pivotal role in any forensic investigation and help determine if nefarious or suspicious activity has occurred on that device. Our study investigates the usage of private mode and browsing artefacts within four prevalent web browsers and is focused on analyzing both hard disk and random access memory. Forensic analysis on the target device showed that using private mode matched each of the web browser vendors’ claims, such as that browsing activity, search history, cookies and temporary files that are not saved in the device’s hard disks. However, in volatile memory analysis, a majority of artefacts within the test cases were retrieved. Hence, a malicious actor performing a similar approach could potentially retrieve sensitive information left behind on the device without the user’s consent. View Full-Text
Keywords: digital forensic investigation; web browsers; private mode; artefacts digital forensic investigation; web browsers; private mode; artefacts
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hughes, K.; Papadopoulos, P.; Pitropakis, N.; Smales, A.; Ahmad, J.; Buchanan, W.J. Browsers’ Private Mode: Is It What We Were Promised? Computers 2021, 10, 165. https://doi.org/10.3390/computers10120165

AMA Style

Hughes K, Papadopoulos P, Pitropakis N, Smales A, Ahmad J, Buchanan WJ. Browsers’ Private Mode: Is It What We Were Promised? Computers. 2021; 10(12):165. https://doi.org/10.3390/computers10120165

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hughes, Kris, Pavlos Papadopoulos, Nikolaos Pitropakis, Adrian Smales, Jawad Ahmad, and William J. Buchanan. 2021. "Browsers’ Private Mode: Is It What We Were Promised?" Computers 10, no. 12: 165. https://doi.org/10.3390/computers10120165

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