What You Are Watching Privately On Safari, Is ‘NOT’ As Private As You Think
Call it digital dishonesty or privacy, “Private Browsing” is something internet users do whenever they have to do something “Private.” The private browsing, at least what we all believe, allows users to watch and share whatever — Porn etc — suits their taste without getting caught by another sibling who uses the same computer.
But here is an alarming news particularly for OS X Safari users: a bug has been discovered which suggests that Safari might be saving good chunk of your private information which can easily be retrieved from your computer. As explained by a MacIssues reader Tyler C
I was troubleshooting some issues with Safari and opened up ~/Library/Safari/WebpageIcons.db, and in that file, I was surprised to find all the URLs of sites (stored in plain text) that I and others using my Mac visited in “private windows” in Safari. The URLs seem to stay in there basically forever unless you clear out all your browsing data (which defeats the entire purpose of using a “private window”).
Safari stores small “favicons” in webpageicon that serve as reminders of all the visited sites. For example, if a user visits a porn site which has set male organ or female organ as its icon, this will remain in the database. This image can ruin your privacy because it will be accessible anytime from the Web server.
The SQLite database can be opened using typical SQLite readers. Only if you have secured your MAC with FineVault, you can stop anyone from knowing which sites you have visited.
Nonetheless, the matter is not just of a bug or of a MAC, this is a serious issue which raises many questions about the privacy policies of the internet sites. The changes in policies take long times. For now, you can choose from the following options:
–You Can Quit Using Safari
This may sound authoritarian, but if you really want to keep your browsing private this is a good choice. Google Chrome and Firefox are said to be the browsers with less issues than their counterparts.
–You Can Use A Personal System
Private and Encrypted system with FileVault can make the job “private browsing” safer.
–You Can Manually Delete Webpageicon.db file
Just navigate the folder of Safari and delete this file which contains icons of your visited sites.
Abubaker Zahoor writes on diverse topics with special interest in innovations, tech-ethics, and inter-and intra- organizational business relationships.