Safe Email and Web Browsing
Safe Email and Web Browsing
Below are descriptions of various issues related to your online security. In order to protect yourself from someone discovering your online activities, read through this page.
If an abuser has access to your email account, he or she may be able to read your incoming and outgoing mail. If you believe your account is secure, make sure you select a password he or she will not be able to guess.
If an abuser sends you threatening or harassing email messages, you should print them and save them as evidence of the abuse. Additionally, the messages may constitute an offense.
Your web browser keeps a record of every web site you visit. This is called "Browser History". If you have visited sites which your abuser may find suspicious, you should clear your browser history.
In order to view a web page, your web browser will download a copy of the page to your computer. These copies can be found on your computer and may reveal which sites you have been visiting. If you have visited sites which your abuser may find suspicious, you should clear your browser cache.
Some web sites will send data to your browser so the site can identify you the next time you visit. This is saved on your hard drive in the form of "cookie" files. For instance, if you shop at Amazon.co.uk, they will store a cookie on your computer which will contain a user ID. Then, the next time you visit Amazon.co.uk, they can read that ID and it will tell Amazon.co.uk who you are. This allows Amazon.co.uk to keep items in your shopping cart between visits, keep a list of items you viewed the last time you visited, etc. Not all sites will set a cookie, but some sites do. These cookies can be found on your computer and may reveal which sites you have been visiting. If you have visited sites which your abuser may find suspicious, you should clear your browser cookies.
A web form is a form that you fill out online using your web browser. For example, when you purchase something online, you fill out a form to give the online store your name, address, credit card number, etc. Web forms can also be search fields or login fields or any text box on a web page. Most current browsers include a feature which saves everything that you type into web forms. The web browser can then copy that information into other web forms so you do not have to re-type it. While this is a handy feature, it can be dangerous because if, for example, you do an internet search by typing "domestic abuse shelters" into a search field, your abuser may later see what you typed. If you type anything into a web page which your abuser may find suspicious, you should clear your web form data.
Disable "Inline Autocomplete" on your internet browser
Inline Autocomplete keeps track of web addresses you have typed in the past, so you don't have to type them again - as soon as you start typing the address, the computer recognizes the address and completes it. This can let your abuser know what web addresses you have visited, so you need to tell your browser not to use Inline Autocomplete (or an equivalent function in the browser your computer is using).
If you are using Internet Explorer, Click on "Tools" then click on "Internet Options." Click on the "Advanced" tab. Scroll down until you find the check boxes for "Use Inline Autocomplete." (There may be more than one.) Make sure the boxes are NOT checked. Then click the "OK" button.
Even if you take these cautionary steps, your abuser may be able to discover your online activities. To ensure that your online activities are not discovered by your abuser, you must use a computer that your abuser cannot access.