Google is closing Incognito Mode loophole in Chrome 76 update

Google will be closing a loophole in Incognito Mode previously reported by 9to5Google at the end of July to ensure that private browsing on Chrome remains exactly that.

In blog post on Thursday, the company confirmed that certain website publishers can see when a user is in Incognito Mode based on the presence of Chrome’s FileSystem API, which is disabled during private browsing.

“Sites can check for the availability of the FileSystem API and, if they receive an error message, determine that a private session is occurring and give the user a different experience,” Google explained.

When Chrome 76 launches however, the FileSystem API will be “modified” to prevent publishers from abusing the loophole.

“The change will affect sites that use the FileSystem API to intercept Incognito Mode sessions and require people to log in or switch to normal browsing mode,” Google further noted.

Essentially, if websites were using the loophole to find users who were avoiding paywalls, they will now have to implement stronger preventative measures instead.

“We suggest publishers monitor the effect of the FileSystem API change before taking reactive measures since any impact on user behavior may be different than expected,” Google also said.

Chrome 76 will be released on 30 July 2019.

Feature image: Shereesa Moodley/Memeburn

Shereesa Moodley


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