Cover Your Tracks Online
All internet browsers save information while you are online, including words you searched for, pictures and websites. Below we have compiled a list of instructions to help you hide your digital ‘footprint’
Always be careful when deleting cookies or histories. Saved passwords to sites will be deleted if you clear cookies, and may alert your partner to your actions. If the computer history is empty, this will also seem suspicious. Always carefully remove the specific websites you used, and leave any your partner used, and a few generic ones such as Google or BBC news. However, when you delete individual sites, it is possible for traces to be left behind. The safest way to browse is always to use a friend’s, or public computer that your abuser has no access to.
Private or incognito browsing
Many browsers now offer a function where you can browse without leaving a digital footprint, and removes the sessions history when you close the window. However, you need to be sure to close it, or your abuser will be aware you have used private browsing. It is always sensible to be aware that tech savvy people can still find traces of your browsing if they research how. As always, the safest method is to use a different computer.
Many browsers will have a function to save passwords in order to save you time, but don’t forget this can also be used by someone else to enter your account, for example online banking. When you first use a site, it will ask if you want to save your password, always be sure to click ‘No’.
Installed toolbars with search engines like AOL, Yahoo and Google will store all the words you search in them.
They will all have a function for deleting the search history, which you will need to do if you search for anything you don’t want your abuser to know. This may vary by toolbar.
The instructions vary by browser, as set out below
Internet Explorer 7 & 8
Click on the Tools menu and select Internet Options. In the General page under Browser History, select the Delete… button. Either select and delete each section: Temporary internet files; Cookies, History; Forms data and Passwords; or select the Delete all… button at the bottom to clear everything.
Mozilla Firefox 8
Click on Tools and Options.. Click the privacy tab, then on “clear your recent history”. Select the period of time you want to delete. Click on Details to select cookies, forms etc.
To delete passwords click on the security tab where you can view all the passwords saved when you browse the web. You can delete them here and remember not to allow Firefox to save them in the future.
To remove history go to History, and click Clear History.
To remove cookies go to Settings (right hand side), Preferences, Privacy tab and click Remove all Website Data (or Details to select certain sites).
Always be aware the abusers may purchase spyware, which you cannot detect but can be used to spy on your computer usage, regardless of whether you delete your history. As previously mentioned, the only way to avoid this is to use a computer your abuser cannot access.