Covering your tracks
If you are concerned an abuser may discover what websites or information you’ve been reading, or email communication you have been having, there are some precautions you can take to cover your tracks. However, the safest way to find online information or to communicate with help services may be to use a safer computer or device, like a computer at the library or on campus, or by using a friend’s computer or device that has login protection with strong passwords.
The following tips may help you cover your tracks when using the Internet with several popular web browsing applications.
How browsers can reveal your online behaviour
Web browsers like Google Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer and Firefox are designed to leave traces behind that indicate where you’ve been and what you’ve been looking at on the Internet. It’s hard to absolutely guarantee that your activity on the Internet can’t be traced at all, but here are some simple things you can do to reduce the chances that someone looking through your computer will find out what you’ve been reading.
Many browsers now have the option of private or “incognito” browsing. If you access this option, no information from your current browsing session will be saved. Please note that you need to choose this option each time you start a new browsing session. If your browser does not have private browsing options, the steps below can help you cover your tracks.
Note that these instructions can change with software updates.
If you use Google Chrome:
- Use the Preferences menu to access your History, then choose Clear browsing data and select the Beginning of time option
If you use Internet Explorer:
- Open the Settings menu, select Internet Options.
- Select the General tab at the top.
- In the section called Browsing History, click on Delete, or choose to Delete on Exit
If you use Firefox:
- Open Settings, then choose Privacy.
- Select Clear your recent history, and Remove individual cookies
If you use Safari:
- Under the History menu item, choose Clear History. Select All history from the menu and then click Clear History