Cover your tracks online

How can an abuser discover your internet activities?

Please take a few minutes to read the warning below and to take steps to increase your safety when visiting this website.

As a rule, internet browsers will save certain information as you surf the internet. This includes images from websites visited, information entered into search engines and a trail (‘history’) that reveals the sites you have visited. If you want to keep that information private, their are steps you can take to minimize the chances of someone finding out that you have visited this website.

If you do not know the type of browser you are using, click on Help on the toolbar at the top of the browser screen, or the “hamburger” icon (top right on most browsers; 3 vertical dots on Chrome):

A drop down menu will appear, the last entry will say About Internet Explorer, About Mozilla Firefox, or something similar. The entry refers to which browser type you are using – you should then refer to the relevant instructions below.

Hide this page

The green HIDE THIS PAGE button will close this page and take you to a news page but you will still need to delete your history fully cover your tracks.

Private browsing

All leading web browsers have a “private browsing” mode that, once enabled, stores nothing about your activity on your computer in that browsing window. This won’t stop online services from seeing what you get up to, but it won’t leave any traces of your activity on your computer (no history, web cache or anything else) and so it’s always a useful first step to take.

It is also best to double check that nothing has been stored by following the steps below.

Wipe your tracks

In order to wipe your tracks completely, all browsers allow you to delete:

  • Page history – a log of all pages you have visited
  • Search history – a log of all things you have searched
  • Cookies – little bits of info that a visited page can store on your computer
  • Cache & Offline content – browsers download information of pages you have visited so when you go back to page, it loads more quickly
  • Form data & password information – information your browser may store to make life easier.

The instructions vary for every browser. If you google How to delete browser information with the name of your browser added, you will find up to date instructions, including videos.

Email

If an abuser sends you threatening or harassing email messages, they may be printed and saved as evidence of this abuse. Any email you have previously sent will be stored in Sent Items. If you started an email but didn’t finish it, it might be in your Drafts folder. If you reply to any email, the original message will probably be in the body of the message – print and delete the email if you don’t want anyone to see your original message.

When you delete an item in any email program (Outlook Express, Outlook, etc.) it does not really delete the item immediately – it moves the item to a folder called Deleted Items (which may take some time to be cleared). You have to delete the items in deleted items separately. Right click on items within the Deleted Items folder to delete individual items.

Secure access to your data

As a rule, it is a good idea to enable 2 step verification (or 2 step authentication) for your accounts. This means you not only need to enter a password but you also need to either enter a code that was sent to your mobile, or enter a code from an authentication app. Most banks use this now. This helps unauthorised access  to your account, in case someone gets hold of your password.

ALWAYS remember to LOG OUT. Just closing a browser page is not enough – many keep you logged in, unless you actively LOG OUT.

General security

If you do not use a password to log on to your computer, someone else will be able to access your email and track your internet usage. The safest way to find information on the internet, would be at a local library, a friend’s house, or at work.

All of the above information may not completely hide your tracks. Many browser types have features that display recently visited sites. The safest way to find information on the internet, would be at a local library, a friend’s house, or at work.

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