Skip to main content

Microsoft Edge's InPrivate sessions may not be as private as you might think

Microsoft's Edge browser has come under fire after researcher Ashish Singh found that it was possible to see websites accessed while InPrivate mode was active by examining the WebCache file. Unfortunately, this means the feature isn't as private as you'd like to believe. After closing the seemingly private instance, someone could access the Container_n table, which contains various data like visited websites, cookie details and more.

This would mean that someone with the know-how could work around Microsoft's InPrivate feature to access browsing data even if you desired to keep said details private. Microsoft has since confirmed with The Verge that the company has begun investigating Singh's report. If you're intrigued to learn more, check out the full report over on Forensic Focus.

Source: Forensic Focus, via: The Verge

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

113 Comments
  • I guess I'll have to use Chrome to look at porn then :p
  • Firefox is better. DoNotTrack is on by default in Private tabs.
  • Cool, thanks for the heads up ;)
  • Why not use tor browser even NSA won't know what video you're seeing...
  • Yeah because without a browser like that it doesn't matter what mode you use.
  • Anyone who has ever used tor browser knows it's slower than $h*t... Can be used for silkroad type purchases but porn is not plausible.
  • Why? Chrome's incognito mode leaks far more data than even this issue with edge does. Or were you not aware that Chrome continues to send identifying telemetry and keystroke data to google even in incognito mode?
  • But, but... FREE SOFTWARE!!
  • Come on... Accept the fact that all the internet services and ISPs do track you even when you are in Stealth as you know it, you were agreed to the t&c, Unless if you're a hacker who can make 'go secure' connection.
  • LOL, because using a browser from a company whose primary income involves data mining personal information is the best way to stay off the grid.
  • I'll use IE11 for my porn private needs.
  • Oh my porn
  • humm
  • Looks like even after closed you can see
  • Or at coffee shop, hotels, bars etc...no edge for me at this places
  • Hey there. Are you under the impression that private mode will protect you on public WiFi networks?
  • All the porn comments lol. Like you would have friends anyway.
  • But that's what we all use 'Private Session' for isn't it?
  • I will sometimes use it to log into another Microsoft account
  • Fair enough
  • There are fast more serious uses for private browsing than just entertainment. This is just awful, what is wrong with MSFT?
  • i use it exclusively to go into alt accounts and never for porn, porn should go to history to be revisited....
  • This. I use InPrivate for work accounts and regular for personal accounts from the same service provider.
  • What if someone else revisits...
  • That and multiple logins to the same site. But mostly that. That said, who the heck would ever use Edge for anything?
  • I'm using it for code demos with ECMAScript 2015 (ES6) and only recent Chrome Canary has caught up Edge with the support of ES2015 features. Also L950 + Dock + BT keyboard - is great demo platform.
  • Logging into another accounts for same sites(as already mentioned). Also I'm using it to bebug websites with clear cookies/sessions/storages etc. Much easier than clear browser data for this site every time.
  • The only use of inprivate browsing I have is to see videos which start with p. :P
  • Great to meet another pickling enthusiast!
  • I'm afraid to search for pickling with safe search off.
  • Puppies and other pets. And occasionaly a video with a lucky plumber repairing some lady's sink :P oh and pizza delivery boys delivering. Pizzas. And professors alone with students. All starting with p.
  • You are aware people who watch porn have friends right? Some have girlfriends, some have wives. Heck some watch it with their wives. Don't be such an arrogant prick just because you have no libido.
  • Lol, I use it for torrents. The best browser right now for me until Edge gets sorted out is Firefox.
  • I use Firefox as well and sit behind a VPN service. I have been really interested in the Tor browser but can't seem to find any definitive answer on whether it really helps for anonymity or if it attracts even more attention because it's being used. I know there us a whole other side to the whole Tor thing that can attract negative attention. I just want to Sta as anonymous as I can while shopping, accessing accounts and downloads. Any thoughts?
  • Like it or not, porn is one of the largest industries due to it's massive demand. Are you suggesting a vast majority of the world is friendless, or that you are just superior to the world, ethically and with real friends? There is a reason why VHS and Blu-Ray became standard. SONY understands that porn support means domination.
  • People who don't watch porn or claim to never have are weird.
  • Good thing I haven't used it since I got windows 10.
  • Who is coding at microsoft?
  • Especially as, one would assume, they had figured this out in IE eons ago.
  • Interns, maybe :D
  • A real privacy mode would do everything in an encrypted memory store in RAM.  (just in case it was paged). Edge still caches files on disk and clearly even logs the history to disk.  While the cache is cleared, this leaves a footprint on disk and it appears the history does too.  Not great design...
  • Deutch marks or dollars
    American Express will do nicely, thank you
    Let me loosen up your collar
    Tell me, do you want to see me do the shimmy again? I'm your private dancer, a dancer for money
    I'll do what you want me to do
  • Ok?
  • Damn. Dat bars! Wooohoo
  • A Tina Turner fan eh?
  • Welcome to Thunder Dome.
  • Madonna. Not
  • Definitely not great news. It's not so dramatic either. If you want to be really private a VPN is a must. If you just want to hide your porn from your normal browsing history you're not affected by this. Still a shame for Microsoft though....
  • Microsoft, y h wont us to use your services when u wanna act like Google?
  • Chrome is a full fledged browser than edge in many areas...
  • Including tracking everything you do. I refuse to use Chrome. I only continue to use Gmail because it is the best experience out there right now.
  • A headline with both the words "may" and "might" doesn't fill me with a lot of confidence about the subject being written about.
     
  • True
  • I am really curious for how many people actually use Edge desktop. I don't like to use it, I don't know why. I just can't get over Chrome :/ But on phone, Edge is my favorite.
  • I use edge desktop because to me it feels faster, looks cleaner, and uses fewer system resources than other browsers.
  • Oh.
  • I usually use it to go to Deezer as it has Flash integrated and this way I don't have to install it as a plugin on Firefox/Chrome.
    I also use it with the dev center as that site works better on Edge that on other browsers :)
  • Flash is built into Chrome.
  • I use Edge all the time. It works fine.
  • I use edge 100% since moving to w1 0on desktop. Its given me zero issues so far after a few months.
  • At work Firefox is my main borwser because of extensions I need, and Edge is my main browser on my Surface and 950 XL.
  • Some of us prefer to use products from sources other than the world's largest profiling, tracking, and advertising company.
  • You mean Google?
  • The only name that fits.
  • Oh. Not some, btw, prefer products from other sources, a lot of people do. The only three things from Google I use are Search, YT and Chrome. For everything else, Microsoft. I have never used an Android phone. Not even my sister's. I hate it so much.
  • I use edge too most of the time...its faster than others...usually performs well...but there are daya when it gets really buggy...like after the system comes out of hibernation, it can really piss you off...for that windows 10 itself can really get on yourself after hibernate mode. Can get really buggy and I end up having to restart to fix it. But I digress...
  • I never use Edge because it takes 5 minutes to load a webpage that Chrome or IE takes 3 seconds to load. I use IE the most.
    Posted from Windows Central for Android.
  • Yes, that's one reason for me too. The pages load faster, no two opinions, but they take too much time to actually appear. Btw, 5 minutes is over exaggeration. Same on mobile too. But on mobile there are not many alternatives but it works well.
  • 5minutes? I've yet to find a web page that takes longer than a few seconds to load on Edge. My experience has been the opposite. Granted, the early Beta days may have been a bit slow. I will admit that Edge on my 1520 may load a bit slow, but that could also be hampered by data connections, too. Usually, when I keep my Wifi on, because it tries to connect to a weak signal from Xfinity or other known free WiFi connections, unless I'm at home and connected. Using just carrier data connection, my experiences have been better.
  • You are being watched...
  • None of the so called "private" sessions is really private*
  • Yes. Chrome also warns about being tracked by ISPs even in Incognito mode.
  • Exactly, it just keeps your wife from seeing what crazy porn you watch and dating sites you visit
  • Dammit Microsoft. Good thing I'm still running chrome for incog stuff
  • I refuse to use Chrome. They data mine me enough already in searches and email. I can't imagine what info they'd have on me if I used chrome signed in under my account. I use it at work for testing, but that's it. Firefox is my main browser except on my Surface.
  • Someone at MSFT: wake up! What's wrong with them? Privacy is all kinds of messed up and they just don't want people issuing edge. And no, private browsing isn't just for salacious browsing. MSFT ... Windows 10 should be sou much better. What the heck?
  • Now you tell me! Thank goodness my wife is not very tech savvy. :P
  • I think you are too much addicted to porn...
  • Porn? Who said anything about porn?
  • Than why do you want to hide your browsing history from your wife
  • Can't tell if you're serious or trolling, but his initial comment was clearly a joke.
  • I know I was just pulling his leg...
  • all five men with "girlfriends with the know-how" were affected...​
  • "Girlfriends with the know-how" means nerdy girls
  • @MihirM2, so, what does that matter? Lol.
  • Nice!
  • Haha good one!
  • Edge has just been one step forward three steps back ever since it came out.  Really makes you wonder what the team that works on Edge is doing all day.  I know you don't just build a new browser from scratch in a day, but this type of nonsense was never an issue in IE.  And just adding back/forward navigation again (with an OS update), which was a feature available in IE6 I believe, it's really quite ridiculous.  I don't see how MS expects anyone above a basic user to want to use Edge over Chrome, Firefox, Opera or whatever other alternatives are out there. 
  • Even UC Browser for pc is better than edge...
  • Even in mobile it seems better also.
  • I use Edge as my primary browser on my Surface, and I don't have any issues except for the Windows Central website because of all the ads they place on articles. I hate to say it, but I can't wait for the ad-block extension so I can browser this website without issues.
  • Hostman with hostfile file from winhelp2002. Works on the system level so on anything accessing the web. No waiting for mem hogging extensions this uses no mem to run. Even if hostman isn't running the modified hostfile is still saved. Takes less than 5 mins to setup
  • The sub-menu on navigation buttons (back and forward) is been there way before IE6, its now a very basic feature of a desktop web browser which Edge is shamelessly lacks most of it. Its really a shame that Edge has to start like this which still feels alpha. Microsoft should be thankful that there are some users who are dedicated and find Edge to be useful for their daily web browsing needs, but I can't say for the rest of Windows users out there especially for those who rely on it on serious tasks. Even with Extensions, Edge still feels unfinished and half-baked web browser unless they implemented all basic and standard features of a web browser that everybody has, including IE. Even current implementation like dragging tabs is absolutely clunky that I wonder why seems nobody even bothered by it. Lastly, Edge is still bad performing that when having multiple tabs opens tends to freeze up Edge regardless of PC specs you have, it just became unresponsive momentarily and crash the tabs. Sure Edge is quick as quick it crashes too.\ This news is even not as disappointing as the current situation of Edge as a whole.
  • I wonder if other browsers have similar shortcomings with this functionality.
  • Well some one has let the cat out of the bag :P.
  • Or anaconda
  • Don't.
  • This isn't the only thing simce ms has allowed recovery of tabs sometimes it recovers unintentionally if you dont close at start page
  • A new browser will have bugs. I'm surprised this was overlooked, but at least Microsoft is working on a fix.
  • This is disappointing.
  • I have seen a url used in the private mode appear in the address bar AFTER the private tab was closed, and the app fully closed with the app switcher on mobile. Just a warning that it's not always private.
  • Opening an inprivate page is greyed out on my new 950xl - it uses the same MS account as my old 920 but I can't figure out why, any ideas?
  • Using private on my phone it will auto fill the web addresses I've used, so its been a long time for where something is being traced.
  • Good thing nobody's familiar with edge. That, and they'll only see the most scarring things.
  • I dare say there is not one instance worldwide that someone using Edge in this manner has been affected by this potential discovery of very elusive browsing footprints. Having said that, reagrdless of what browser and what security setting you use, it's logged somewhere in the world.  
  • Let's face it, until Edge offers basic ad blocking extensions (I don't even care about other extensions), it will continue to be a really ****** and slow (albeit touch and pen friendly) browser. That being said, maybe one of these days it will come close to Chrome/Firefox levels.
  • You can apply that headline to everything in tech. If you think you are doing something privately on the Internet, you're wrong.
  • So this want known in the technical design?? Lol
  • I use Edge daily. It is fast but freezes sometimes and on occasion it messes up the tabs. For the rare occasions when it doesnt work I have Chrome. InPrivate for me means that no cookies are available to websites. I worry much less about accesaing the private cache on my PC. I was really scared when after browsing for some toy cars I started seeing google ads for them on every other site I visited.
  • Lets face it the only reason people use inPrivate is to hide porn from their parents and the average parent doesn't know how to do this stuff.
  • Not the only reason. Sometimes people need to log into their online accounts on other people's computers. E.g. I wanted to show my mom the photos from my online camera roll.
  • It is best to use your co-workers browser when they are at lunch.
  • Without browsers (and operating systems in general, for that matter) using Perfect Forward Secrecy-esque principles, you're unlikely to ever establish any privacy as long as you are connected to the internet. Use of Edge or any browser that uses the EFF's limited hangout "privacy" plugins that the ongoing Assange and Snowden PSYOPS are determined to herd people towards using will eventually be broken by "unforeseen vulnerabilities" (that were deliberately built-in from the start). Think about what you do offline in your human life (non-device activity) to maintain your privacy - can you in all honesty state that you are able to accomplish that same level of privacy with absolute certainty online? This online privacy desire is a rabbit hole of uncertainty, and more honestly, naive. Unless you wrote the code of what you are using, you have no understanding or realistic expectation for absolute privacy.  Our education (i.e. indoctrination) systems should have already been instructing people on how to develop their own privacy-based hardware, operating systems and software solutions, but instead, because it isn't actual education, we are only taught to use what the CTO muppets come up with. Log off. Being human shouldn't scare people so much that they feel they are missing out by not being "online" or in front of the tel-lie-vision set.