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Cover your tracks

Warning: there is no way to completely cover your movements online. This information can help you to cover your tracks online to an extent, but the only way to be sure is to use a completely different computer.

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, school or at a college.

Keeping yourself safe

  • Stored passwords

    Your browser can store passwords to save you time, but these can also used by someone to access your account. When you first use a password on a site you will be asked if you want the browser to remember it - click no, or browse in Private Mode. However, accidents happen and you may accidentally allow a password to be saved. You can delete saved passwords either as part of your history removal or separately, depending on your browser (see below) - remember that removing all passwords may be suspicious if you share a computer.
  • Toolbars

    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". With AOL, to remove trace of the websites you've visited, hold down the "control" key and the "h" key.
  • 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.
     
    If you do use a password make sure it's one someone who knows you can't guess, such as your pet or birthdate, and change it regularly.
  • E-mails

    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:

  • Manual deletion of history, cookies etc

    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.

    Internet Explorer

    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. Firefox bundles cookies, forms and history under the heading ‘history’. Click the privacy tab, then on “clear your recent history”. Select the period 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.

    In Firefox you (or someone accessing your computer) can actually read the passwords saved on your system. If you use the same passwords for many things consider changing them all if you have allowed your browser to save any.

    You can also adjust how you want Firefox to store your data under the privacy tab.

    Safari

    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).

    Chrome, Opera and other browsers

    There are many new browsers on the market, so it is always advisable to search for advice on your own browser. For example this tutorial shows you various security measures on Opera, or you can see the settings for Google Chrome.

  • Private Browsing (name varies for different browsers)

    This tool prevents websites from saving any data about you which may leave a trail, such as cookies, history or other browser data created or saved in that session. Your history for that session will also be deleted when you close the window.

    Not to be confused with Private Filtering, which has another function and will not stop your abuser from seeing your trail!

    Generally Private Browsing can be activated in the Tools bar. This will open a new window. Remember only to use this window for your browsing session, and make sure you close it! Leaving this window open will alert your abuser that you are concerned he is tracking you.
    Read more about In-Private Browsing

    However, even though it helps, this mode is not entirely safe, and there are some programmes that can recover deleted files, or a determined person could still find traces of your visit if they read enough "tips" online. Again, the only safe way is to use a computer your abuser does not have access to!

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