Advice for victims of abuse, domestic violence or stalking
The internet is an ideal way to search for information and support anonymously, but unfortunately it is possible for others to track what you’ve been viewing online.
There is no way to completely disguise your movements online. However, to cover your tracks, you could use a computer at a local library, an internet cafe, a friend’s house or at work, instead of your home computer.
For more advice, you could also read the following:
- Cover your tracks online – advice from Woman’s Aid
- Internet safety for survivors of domestic violence – advice from Bracknell Forest Council
While you are online
If you’re worried someone might come into the room and you don’t want them to see what you’re looking at, you could open another browser window or document and keep it open behind the site you’re looking at. This way, if you need to close a window quickly, you’re not left looking at a blank screen.
Deleting cookies and address histories
Be aware that removing data from your computer might be noticed by the person you want to cover your tracks from. If you share your computer with others, then clearing your cookies means information saved, such as passwords for online banking, will disappear. Because their passwords will no longer be saved, the people you share your computer with may realise that you’ve removed data. They may also notice if the address history on the PC has been cleared, which may arouse suspicion.
Clear internet history after visiting a website
When you browse the internet, information about the sites you visit is stored in the internet browser you use on your computer. To minimise the chances of someone finding out you’ve visited a particular website, clear your internet history. However, be aware there may be other ways for someone to work out which sites you’ve visited.
Most browsers also offer the option of “private” or “incognito” browsing. This prevents pages you view being stored in your browser’s history, cookie store, or search history after you’ve closed all your “private” tabs. However, any bookmarks you create or files you download will be kept. Your internet service provider, (if you are at work, your employer) can still see your browsing history.