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Erasing your tracks online

Tak­ing all of the actions on this page may not pre­vent an abuser from dis­cov­er­ing your email and Inter­net activ­i­ty. The safest way to find infor­ma­tion on the Inter­net is to go to a safer com­put­er. Some sug­ges­tions would be your local library, a friend’s house or your workplace.

Con­cerned about some­one find­ing out where you’ve been on the internet?

Here’s how to reduce the chances that your Inter­net activ­i­ties will be traced.

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 brows­ing. If you access this option no infor­ma­tion from your cur­rent brows­ing ses­sion will be saved. Please note that you will need to choose this option each time you start a new brows­ing ses­sion. If your brows­er does not have pri­vate brows­ing options then please fol­low the steps below.

In gen­er­al, you will need to erase two things:
  • Your cache — This is where the com­put­er stores copies of files you’ve recent­ly looked at with your web browser.
  • Your his­to­ry list — This is a sin­gle file con­tain­ing the address­es of the places you’ve recent­ly visited.

If you use Google Chrome…

  • In the top-right cor­ner of the brows­er win­dow, click the Chrome menu.
  • Select his­to­ry’.
  • Click the but­ton clear brows­ing data’. A dia­log box will appear.
  • From the drop-down menu, select how much his­to­ry you want to delete. To clear your entire brows­ing his­to­ry, select the begin­ning of time.
  • Check the box­es for the data you want Chrome to clear, includ­ing brows­ing history.’
  • Click the but­ton clear brows­ing data.’

If you use Inter­net Explorer…

  • Open the tools’ menu and select inter­net options’.
  • Select the gen­er­al’ tab at the top.
  • In the sec­tion called tem­po­rary inter­net files,’ click on delete files.’
  • Your cache will now be cleared.
  • On the same screen, in the sec­tion called his­to­ry,’ click on clear history.’
  • Your his­to­ry list will now be cleared.
  • If there is a lot of sites on your list, this might take a few moments.
  • Note that clear­ing the cache and his­to­ry in Inter­net Explor­er also auto­mat­i­cal­ly clears your address bar.

If you use Firefox…

  • Open the tools’ menu, select options.’
  • Select the pri­va­cy’ tab locat­ed on the left side of the menu bar.
  • Select the his­to­ry’ tab and click on clear.’
  • Your his­to­ry will now be cleared.
  • Select the cache’ tab and click on clear’
  • Your cache will now be cleared.
  • Note that clear­ing the cache and his­to­ry in Fire­fox auto­mat­i­cal­ly clears your address bar as well.

NOTE: There is also anoth­er option called Clear all infor­ma­tion stored while brows­ing.” This will remove ALL of your brows­ing his­to­ry, cache, recent­ly down­loaded files; all saved infor­ma­tion and search­es, all cook­ies and saved passwords.

To clear all information:

  • Select clear all infor­ma­tion stored while brows­ing’ tab and click OK.’
  • A dia­logue box will pop up to con­firm that you are about to erase all information.
  • Click OK.’

One Impor­tant Tip!

When you clear the cache and the his­to­ry list, you erase not only the infor­ma­tion on where you’ve been, but any oth­er infor­ma­tion that had been pre­vi­ous­ly stored there. So, if some­one checks and sees that the cache and the his­to­ry list have been com­plete­ly emp­tied, they will not only know that you know how to do this, but they might guess that you’re try­ing to hide some­thing. One pos­si­ble way to avoid sus­pi­cion is to clear the cache and his­to­ry once you’re done look­ing at infor­ma­tion you don’t want some­one to know about. After they’re cleared, spend some time vis­it­ing sites that you think peo­ple would­n’t object to. This way, if some­one is track­ing your inter­net habits, the cache and his­to­ry list start to get filled up and they might be less like­ly to notice that old infor­ma­tion is missing.