Is there a new way to discover Google Incognito mode after the ‘fix’?

For years, web developers had a simple trick up their sleeves that would enable them to find out whether someone was using Chrome through Incognito mode. However, with the introduction of Chrome version 76, Google eliminated the detection method to provide better anonymity to users utilizing the Incognito Mode.

But security researchers are faster and discovered another reliable way to detect the feature – long before the Chrome 76 is released in the market. Vikas Mishra, security researcher, and Ph.D. student claims that he has found another API that functions in a different manner when the user logs in through Incognito Mode.

According to his findings, web browsers including Chrome have a Storage Quota Management API built-in that allows web apps to analyze the temporary storage space they have allotted along with the remaining count.

During normal browsing, the storage capacity remains at least 10% of the disk drive’s capacity. However, during the Incognito Mode, the storage allotment is the percentage of the device’s RAM with a maximum of 120 MB. As per the calculations made by Mishra, the system using a non-Incognito browser will have only 120 MB of storage quota and a very tiny 2.4 GB hard drive.

Since such a small storage drive is unheard of in this era, it would indicate that the user is in Incognito Mode.

In simple words, the web developers will only have to check the available storage quota and whether it is higher than 120 MB to find out if the user is in Incognito Mode.

Of course, Google was aware that more Incognito Mode detection methods would be discovered with time. However, we can hope that Google will find a fix to Mishra’s method as well to protect the privacy of the users. The search engine, itself encourages web developers to respect the privacy of Incognito Mode users.

Photo: SOPA Images via Getty Images

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