CWmike writes "Browsing in 'private mode" isn't as private as users think, reports Gregg Keizer. 'There are some traces left behind [by all browsers] that could reveal some of the sites that you've been to,' said researcher Collin Jackson. He, along with three colleagues, will present their findings on Tuesday at the Usenix Security Symposium in DC. IE, Firefox and Safari, for instance, leave traces of SSL encryption keys even when run in private mode, while IE and Safari on Windows preserve self-signed SSL certificates in a 'vault' file that could be read by others to track the browser's path. Firefox also retains evidence of some certificates. Private mode has also been billed as a way for users to hide themselves from the prying eyes of sites that try to track habits and histories. Jackson said most users see that as the biggest attraction to private mode. 'Some browsers do a better job of protecting you from other types of scenarios, such as Web site tracking,' Jackson said. 'Safari is very much more willing to reveal you to Web sites than the others.'"