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Cover your Tracks

Cover your Tracks

Internet Safety Guide - Cover Your Tracks

There are various ways to keep yourself safe while online, although please remember that none of them are 100% effective, (a computer whizz could probably crack anything). However by using a few simple guidelines, you can make it difficult for somebody else to find out which websites you have been visiting.

If your safety depends on leaving no trace of your internet activity then consider using a friends or a work computer. Libraries and internet cafes also have computers that you can use anonymously.

Whenever you are online, your internet browser (e.g. Firefox, Chrome) will save in History a list of the sites you have visited, files and videos you’ve downloaded and images you’ve seen.

Your first step is to tell your browser NOT to store these files. All browsers differ, but they all have a feature that enables you to keep all your internet activity private.

With Internet Explorer it is called inPrivate Browsing mode, in Firefox it is called Private Browsing and in Chrome it is Incognito. You can find it in the Tools menu or in Options. Activating it opens a new window and your computer or phone will not store any information about pages you have visited.

Read this excellent summary on how to use the different browsers

Deleting Cookies, Files and Internet History
If you are not sure about what information is already on your computer, then you could simply delete ALL data from your browsing history. While you are clearing it, you may want to set your browser preferences to always delete history and cache data when you close a page. This option is normally on the same form.

If you are not sure what browser you are using, click Help on the toolbar at the top of the screen and it will tell you.

In most browsers, the settings for clearing your browsing history are likely to be in the Menu under Options or Settings and Security or Privacy. Use Google search to find out how to clear data from your browser. Find out more from Women’s Aid cover your tracks page. Below are links to some help pages from some of the popular browser:


E-mail
The only way to protect yourself on email is by using a password that only you have access to. Make sure you choose a password that someone will not be able to guess and remember to change it regularly.

If someone sends you threatening or harassing e-mails make sure you print and save them. Although you may be tempted to delete them, especially if they are distressing, they are evidence and may help you prove that a criminal offence has been committed.

Mobile Phones
Your best protection on mobile phones is to keep the phone locked and password protected at all times. There is no easy way to hide messages on a mobile short of deleting them after every session. Again, if you are concerned make sure you keep the phone where it cannot be easily found and make it password protected. There are a number of Apps for Android and iPhone that might be useful. A search on the App store for a history eraser should give you a few options.