Cover Your Tracks

For your own safety, when you search online for information or communicate about abuse, do not use any computer to which your abuser has access. Your internet, e-mail and document use activities leave traces on your computer that can be found by your abuser. Use a computer to which they don’t have access, such as at work, in the library or a friend’s or trusted family member’s computer. If you do use your own computer, complete the following steps to provide some measure of protection for you and to remove most traces of your computer activities:

1. Clear your search engine/cache

Search engines can retain and display past searches in a “cache”. Here is a guide to deleting past searches with Google. Other search engines may also retain and display searches. Check any search engine that you use for this function. Your browser is the tool you are using to surf the net (like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome). The cache has files recording where you have gone. To delete this, go to your browser’s Tools or Internet Options or Preferences, and clear your cache.

2. Clear your browser’s history

Your browser keeps a history of URLs you have visited, and anyone can access this. Do the same thing (above) to find and delete your browser’s history.

3. Change your passwords

Change your passwords regularly. Do not store them somewhere obvious. Do not use easy to guess passwords, such as your birthday or your child’s name. Use passwords that include both letters and numbers.

4. Delete your emails and files/documents

Delete e-mails from the “Send” or “Outbox”. Also delete e-mails from the “Deleted Items”/”Trash” folder. In addition, empty the “Recycle” or “Trash Bin” of any documents before shutting down the computer. Make this a regular routine so it is not an unusual action that may trigger suspicion.

5. Log out!

Don’t forget to log out of any accounts you are signed in to before you leave.

Be advised that these steps will not remove all traces of your computer activities. It is still best to use a computer to which your abuser does not have access.

“Cover Your Tracks” information taken from here.