Can My Employer See My Incognito Mode History?
When you’re at work, it can be tempting to browse the web. This is especially true if tasks are a bit tedious. But be aware, as many companies are now using screen monitoring software to observe what employees do on their computers. So, can your employer see your incognito mode history with such software?
While incognito browsing mode can hide internet activity from the computer you’re using, it does not hide it from surveillance software. This means that an employer can potentially see incognito browsing history remotely, and even take screenshots of the websites visited. This makes careful and responsible internet use even more important for workers.
Keep reading to learn more about how this surveillance software works, how to use the internet wisely at work, and tips on keeping work and personal internet use separate.
Can Surveillance Software See My Incognito Mode?
Your browser’s incognito mode setting helps keep the websites you visit hidden from the browser’s search history and the computer’s memory. This feature is often used by individuals searching for or viewing sensitive, controversial, or NSFW materials.
However, if your employer has installed software such as Wolfeye Remote Screen, incognito mode won’t hide your data. While a browser won’t record visited websites in this mode, the software running in the background definitely will. This is thanks to the software being a distinct program running on the computer itself, as opposed to a pre-existing CPU component.
This software then relays user activity to a main computer or computers, allowing your employer to remotely view and catalog everything you do. Incognito mode won’t blind the software involved any more than it would blind someone peeking over your shoulder at work.
This makes it especially important for workers to make sure that they use their time on a work computer wisely. What are some browsing behaviors to avoid at work?
Browsing Habits To Avoid While Working
While the first thing to avoid in many worker’s books is NSFW or pornographic material, there’s far more to it than that. Of course, you should never be looking at adult materials on your employer’s computer. That is immensely unprofessional and could cause other workers glancing casually at your screen to feel uncomfortable, or harassed.
But other behaviors also fall into the category of “don’t do that”. These computer habits include
- Playing games
- Checking social media
- Reading news articles (unless as a part of work-related research)
- Searching for another job
- Watching videos for fun (think cat or dog videos on YouTube)
- Checking personal email
All of these habits distract you from work and could land you in serious trouble with a boss. If you wouldn’t want your employer to peek over your shoulder and see you doing it, don’t do it on a work computer.
Productivity monitoring software, as it’s also called, can log and record everything on your screen, no matter what privacy settings, VPNs, or modes are in use. And this tech can even allow the boss to view your screen in real-time from his smartphone, even if he’s out of the office. Don’t assume your screen is private just because he’s on vacation.
All this can seem a bit unnerving, but you’ll be just fine so long as you use your work computer wisely. So how can you develop healthier browsing and productivity habits at work? Here are a few tips for you.
How To Develop Healthier Browser Habits at Work
Keeping yourself on task and professional at a work computer can be a challenge. One important thing to do is to come to work refreshed and ready to work. Not getting enough sleep can make the brain sluggish, causing one to drift more readily into distracting activities.
Another tactic to use is to place only work-related websites in your browser’s bookmarks tab. This means no search engines within easy reach. This makes it easier to click on the right websites, and a bit more tedious to type in entire URLs. If your browser is set up for professionalism, you’re more likely to stay on task.
Another healthy habit is to limit or reduce social media use when off the clock. The less you feel the need to check in, the less tempted you’ll be at work. Keep social media limited to close friends and family, and set aside a time each day to check it and then close the app.
Keep your personal-use phone zipped up in a purse or messenger bag while at your desk. If it’s not right in front of you, it’ll be tougher to reach for it on a whim. Browsing on your phone can be just as distracting, and could get you in trouble if observed.
Finally, give yourself time during the day to get up and stretch, have some coffee, or get a breath of fresh air if possible. Keeping the brain stimulated and refreshed is vital to staying on task. If possible, set a timer to walk around every hour or so to get the blood flowing. This can greatly boost productivity while reducing boredom. Take your scheduled breaks, and don’t overwork yourself.
Screen monitoring software like Wolfeye Remote Screen can allow an employer to view your complete browsing history or see your screen in real time, even with incognito mode on. All incognito does is blind your browser’s search history and computer’s saved data, but it can’t blind after-market surveillance software.
To stay safe, avoid NSFW websites, and keep all browsing directed towards work-related tasks. Avoid social media, news articles, or games while on a work computer. Set up your browser’s bookmarks for essential work-related sites instead of search engines or social media.
If you keep these rules in mind and use your time wisely, you’ll be fine. Be sure to come to work rested, and give yourself time throughout the day to recharge and walk around. This can help your mind stay refreshed and less distracted.