Please note, the information below is for guidance only and may not completely cover your tracks. If you want to be completely sure of not being tracked online, the safest way would be to access the internet at a local library, a friend’s house or at work. You could also access info via an iPlus point (pictured left).
How can an abuser discover your internet activities?
As a rule, internet browsers will save certain information as you surf the internet. This includes images from websites visited, words entered into search engines and a trail (‘history’) that reveals the sites you have visited. Below are instructions on how to minimize the chances of someone finding out that you have visited this website.
Warning about deleting cookies and address histories
It’s important to state that there is a risk involved in removing data from your computer. For instance, if your partner uses online banking and has a saved password, then if you clear the cookies on your PC, your partner will realise you’ve done so, because their password will no longer be saved. Also, your partner may notice if the address history on the PC has been cleared, and this may raise suspicion.
How do I work out which browser I’m using?
If you know what browser you are using, then skip to the relevant instructions below. 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. 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.
Instructions on how to delete history & cache from your PC:
A useful keyboard shortcut for deleting your browsing history in Internet Explorer is Ctrl-Shift-Delete. If you press this combination of keys in a recent version of Explorer, you’ll bring up a dialog box that lets you specify what you want to keep and what you want to purge. Simply check the boxes next to the history you want to remove, and then click Delete.
Chrome users have access to the same slick keyboard shortcut as Internet Explorer users. Press Ctrl-Shift-Delete in Chrome, and you’ll see Google’s options for deleting your browser history. As with IE, simply check the boxes next to the history items you want to clear, but be sure to examine the options available to you in the drop-down menu at the top. This menu allows you to specify how much of your history you’d like to delete. You can choose to excise the past hour, day, week, or month–or you can obliterate everything since the beginning of time.
Press Ctrl-Shift-Delete to summon the history-clearing options that are available to you in Firefox. If you don’t see a detailed list of what you can and can’t delete, click the Details arrow to reveal the specifics. As with Chrome, you have the option of choosing a time range to clear. The options are a bit different, however. In Firefox, you can clear the last hour, the last 2 hours, the last 4 hours, the last full day, or your entire Firefox history.
Click the gear icon in the upper-right corner, and select Reset Safari. In the resulting pop-up menu, check the items that you want to clear; then press the Reset button to purge your data.
If an abuser sends you threatening or harassing e-mail messages, they may be printed and saved as evidence of this abuse.
Be aware of how records of your emails can be accessed:
– Any email you have previously sent will be stored in sent Items. Go to sent items and delete emails you don’t want a person to see
– If you started an email but didn’t finish it, it might be in your drafts folder. Go to the draft folder to delete it
– If you reply to any email, the original message will probably be in the body of the message – delete the email if you dont want anyone to see your original message.
– When you delete an item in any email program (Outlook Express, Outlook, Thunderbird etc) it does not really delete the item – it moves the item to a folder called Deleted Items. You have to delete the items in Deleted Items to remove them completely
– If there’s a risk that your abuser may know how to access your emails, it’s a good idea to set up a new email account. Use a provider like Hotmail or Yahoo for an account you can access from anywhere, and use a name that is not recognisable as you, for example firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep this email secret.
Toolbars such as Google, AOL and Yahoo keep a record of the search words you have typed into the toolbar search box. In order to erase all the search words you have typed in, you will need to check the individual instructions for each type of toolbar. For example, for the Google toolbar all you need to do is click on the Google icon, and choose “Clear Search History”.
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.
(This page about internet security was reproduced with the kind permission of Women’s Aid.)