Cover your tracks online

Cover your tracks online

How can someone discover your internet activities?

As a rule, internet browsers will save certain information as you browse. This includes images from websites visited, information entered into search engines and a trail, ‘history’, that reveals the sites you have visited.

Exit site button

The yellow ‘Exit Site’ button on the top right of the First Light website will direct you away from the page to bbc.co.uk/news, however,  you will still need to take steps to fully cover your tracks.

Private browsing

All leading web browsers have ‘private browsing’ modes that, once enabled, stop browsers from recording browsing activity. This won’t stop online services from seeing activities on their pages, but it won’t leave any traces of your activity on your computer (no history, web cache or anything else) and so it’s a useful first step to take.

Microsoft Edge

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Firefox

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Chrome

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Internet Explorer

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Clear browsing history

If you are not using a private browsing mode then pages that are visited are stored by a web browser for future reference.

Microsoft Edge

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Firefox

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Chrome

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Internet Explorer

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Password storage

Web browsers will offer to save passwords for future usage. These would enable other people to log in to websites and offer an avenue to see which sites are visited even if in private browsing mode.

Microsoft Edge

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Firefox

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Chrome

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Internet Explorer

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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”.

Don’t forget to log out

If you use any support Forums, don’t forget to log out of your account when you have finished your browsing session so no one else can log in as you

Email

If a somebody sends you threatening or harassing email messages, they may be printed and saved as evidence of this abuse. Any email you have previously sent will be stored in Sent Items. If you started an email but didn’t finish it, it might be in your Drafts folder. If you reply to any email, the original message will probably be in the body of the message – print and delete the email if you don’t want anyone to see your original message.

When you delete an email, it does not really delete the item – it moves the item to a separate folder such as ‘Deleted Items’ or ‘Trash’. You must delete the items in deleted items separately. Right click on items within this folder to delete individual items.

General security

If you do not use a password to log on to your computer, someone else will be able to access your desktop, applications and track your internet usage.

The above information may not completely hide your tracks. Many browsers have features that display recently visited sites.

The safest way to find information on the internet, would be at a local library, a friend’s house or at work.