Computer and Internet Safety

If you are in danger, please try to use a safer computer that someone abusive does not have direct or remote (hacking) access to.

If you think your activities are being monitored, they probably are. Abusive people are often controlling and want to know your every move. You don’t need to be a computer programmer or have special skills to monitor someone’s computer and Internet activities – anyone can do it and there are many ways to monitor with programs like Spyware, keystroke loggers and hacking tools.

It is not possible to delete or clear all the “footprints” of your computer or online activities. If you are being monitored, it may be dangerous to change your computer behaviors such as suddenly deleting your entire Internet history if that is not your regular habit.

If you think you may be monitored on your home computer, be careful how you use your computer since an abuser might become suspicious. You may want to keep using the monitored computer for innocuous activities, like looking up the weather. Use a safer computer to research an escape plan, look for new jobs or apartments, bus tickets, or ask for help.

Email and Instant/Text Messaging (IM) are not safe or confidential ways to talk to someone about the danger or abuse in your life. If possible, please call a hotline instead. If you use email or IM, please use a safer computer and an account your abuser does not know about.

Computers can store a lot of private information about what you look at via the Internet, the emails and instant messages you send, internet-based phone and IP-TTY calls you make, web-based purchases and banking, and many other activities.

It might be safer to use a computer in a public library, at a trusted friend’s house, or an Internet Café.

You can also read about ways to privately browse below.

Private Browsing – How to Surf Privately

Incognito web browsing is private Internet surfing and it differs from non-private surfing because history of an incognito session does not get saved to the hard drive. When surfing incognito, cache or cookies are not left behind to provide footprints of where the user has been. Fortunately, most popular web browsers offer incognito surfing. Always check your browser history to check that these rules are working and not leaving a trail.

While incognito mode offers a level of privacy, it is not foolproof.  If you feel you are in danger use a safer private or public computer. Here are a list of common browsers and how to use them privately.

Internet Explorer 9

  1. Open IE9 browser
    Using “InPrivate” Web pages prevents history, cookies, temporary files, and other session data from being stored on your hard drive or anywhere else.
  3. Must be full screen, in order for this transaction to work.

Google Chrome

  1. Open Google Chrome
  2. Ctrl+Shift+N (Windows, Chrome OS); ?-Shift-N (Mac)

    Web pages that are opened and downloaded incognito aren’t recorded in browsing and download history and cookies are deleted when windows are closed.  However, going incognito does not prevent websites from collecting or sharing visitor information.  Bookmarks created or files downloaded in incognito mode will still be saved and Internet Service Providers, employers and cyber criminals can still track keystrokes via keylogging software. For additional info see Incognito mode (browse in private)

Google Chrome for iPad

  1. Open Chrome browser
  2. Tap menu button (three horizontal lines) in upper right hand corner of browser window.
  3. Select “New Incognito Tab” from drop down menu.
  4. Shady character with a hat and sunglasses in upper left hand corner means indicates Incognito Mode.

To exit Incognito Mode, close the active tab.

Firefox 3.6

  1. Open your Firefox browser
  2. Ctrl+Shift+P (PC) or Command+Shift+P (OS X) or Open a New Private Window from the File menu

Private Browsing prevents cookies and download history from being recorded locally. To end private browsing, close the Private Browsing window.

Safari 5 (PC)

  1. Open Safari 5
  2. Click on the Gear icon, (Action Menu), in the upper right hand corner of window.
  3. Select “Private Browsing” from drop down menu.

While in “Private Browsing” mode, all private data including browsing history and AutoFill information will not be saved.

Safari 5 (OS X)

  1. Open Safari 5
  2. Click on Safari in browser’s menu (upper left hand corner of screen)
  3. Select “Private Browsing” from dropdown menu.
  4. A pop-up will appear to explain “Private Browsing” mode.
  5. To enable, click OK button.
  6. To confirm anonymous browsing make sure PRIVATE indicator is displayed in address bar.

To disable Private Browsing, select “Private Browsing” a second time to remove the checkmark.

Safari on the iPhone, iPad  (iOS 9.1)

Open the Safari App and click the Private button at the bottom of the browsing window. Read the private browsing explanation.

Be sure to click off the Private  button and close ALL windows when exiting