Blog > Stay Safe Online

Stay Safe Online

May 18, 2021

It should nev­er be a sur­vivor’s respon­si­bil­i­ty to stay safe but know­ing your options for online safe­ty and pri­va­cy can help you make the choic­es that are best for you! 

It is always good to be think­ing about your safe­ty while using chat or text sup­ports. In some ways using a text/​chat ser­vice can be more dis­creet than using the phone line. For one, you don’t have to wor­ry about being over­heard! How­ev­er, there are a few dif­fer­ent things to keep in mind. If you think some­one may be track­ing you online or on your phone, trust your gut and take precautions. 

SACHA’s WebChat is end-to-end encrypt­ed, which means that it is scram­bled into a code on our com­put­er and then it is unscram­bled on your com­put­er. That way, if some­one tries to inter­cept the mes­sages they will not be able to under­stand them. How­ev­er, when using text (SMS) your mes­sages have to be passed on by your phone com­pa­ny, which means they can­not be secure­ly encrypted. 

There are lots of sim­ple pri­va­cy mea­sures you can take. Take care that you are in a place where no one can read over your shoul­der and be pre­pared to switch away from our web page quick­ly. There is a bright yel­low but­ton at the top of our page that says Quick Hide” and if you click on it you will go imme­di­ate­ly to Google News. You can also have two win­dows open at once and close the win­dow with the SACHA web­page, leav­ing you with just one win­dow with a site of your choice like Face­book or any oth­er site you vis­it often. 

Our safe sup­port app does not store our mes­sages in any form, but if you are tex­ting from your cell phone you will need to delete all of our texts by your­self. If you are on the web you can delete our web­site from your his­to­ry or delete your entire his­to­ry, though beware it may look sus­pi­cious if all of your his­to­ry is gone. You can use a pri­vate brows­er mode like incog­ni­to” on Chrome to pre­vent our web­site from show­ing up in your his­to­ry at all. 

Fre­quent­ly chang­ing your pass­words and the way you unlock your phone is an excel­lent idea. If you are ques­tioned, you can say that you’ve read news reports about people’s pass­words being leaked by hack­ers – which is all too com­mon. Make your new pass­words hard to guess: using phras­es that are long but easy to remem­ber is actu­al­ly more secure than using lots of num­bers and sym­bols. Beware of reusing pass­words to make sure that no one is able to access your bank, social media and a GPS find my phone’ fea­ture if you are using just one pass­word. If some­one could be track­ing you do not rely on aut­ofill pass­words, and make the pass­word to log-in to your device as strong as pos­si­ble. Beware of fin­ger­print scan­ners or face recog­ni­tion on your devices if you live with the abuser because they may be able to unlock them when you are asleep. 

Make sure your secu­ri­ty ques­tions are strong. Your abuser is like­ly to know your mother’s maid­en name and where you went to ele­men­tary school, or this infor­ma­tion can often be found on social media or through Google search­es. Instead of using the cor­rect answers, you can use ran­dom mem­o­rable words— per­haps list your mother’s maid­en name as pota­to’ and your ele­men­tary school as dinosaur academy.’

If you are wor­ried that you are being stalked online by an abuser then you may want to check for spy­ware that they could have installed on your phone, tablet, or lap­top. Spy­ware can include things like key­log­gers that track every­thing you type and would be able to record your pass­words and your chats with SACHA, fam­i­ly, and friends. Get­ting rid of spy­ware sounds very intim­i­dat­ing! Luck­i­ly there is a lot of infor­ma­tion online about find­ing and remov­ing it by your­self or using soft­ware for this pur­pose. You can use online resources or vis­it your phone/​computer repair shop for help. In the mean­time, you may be able to get a pay-as-you-go phone or bor­row devices from fam­i­ly and friends.

We live so much of our lives on our phones and online so it is impor­tant to pro­tect our dig­i­tal realm. Even if the rest of your life is con­trolled by abuse, you can carve out a safer space for your­self doing things like using SACHA’s WebChat/​TextChat Sup­ports or 24-Hour Sup­port Line, research­ing ser­vices and resources online, con­nect­ing with fam­i­ly and friends and mak­ing safe­ty plans. Learn­ing how to safe­guard your tech­nol­o­gy can open up a world of pos­si­bil­i­ty and free­dom that you can use how­ev­er you wish.