Erasing Your Tracks Online

Taking all of the actions on this page may not prevent an abuser from discovering your email and Internet activity. The safest way to find information on the Internet is to go to a safer computer. Some suggestions would be your local library, a friend’s house or your workplace.

Other safety suggestions:

  • Change your password often
  • Do not pick obvious words or numbers for your password,
  • Make sure to include a combination of letters and numbers for your password.

Concerned about someone finding out where you’ve been on the internet?

Here’s how to reduce the chances that your Internet activities will be traced.

Web browsers like Google Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer and Firefox are designed to leave traces behind that indicate where you’ve been and what you’ve been looking at on the internet. It’s hard to absolutely guarantee that your activity on the internet can’t be traced at all, but here are some simple things you can do to reduce the chances that someone looking through your computer will find out what you’ve been reading.

Many browsers now have the option of private browsing. If you access this option no information from your current browsing session will be saved. Please note that you will need to choose this option each time you start a new browsing session. If your browser does not have private browsing options then please follow the steps below.

In general, you will need to erase two things:

Your cache – This is where the computer stores copies of files you’ve recently looked at with your web browser.
Your history list – This is a single file containing the addresses of the places you’ve recently visited.

If you use Google Chrome:

  1. In the top-right corner of the browser window, click the Chrome menu.
  2. Select ‘history’.
  3. Click the button ‘clear browsing data’. A dialog box will appear.
  4. From the drop-down menu, select how much history you want to delete. To clear your entire browsing history, select the beginning of time.
  5. Check the boxes for the data you want Chrome to clear, including ‘browsing history.’
  6. Click the button ‘clear browsing data.’

If you use Internet Explorer:

  1. Open the ‘tools’ menu and select ‘internet options’.
  2. Select the ‘general’ tab at the top.
  3. In the section called ‘temporary internet files,’ click on ‘delete files.’
    Your cache will now be cleared.
  4. On the same screen, in the section called ‘history,’ click on ‘clear history.’
    Your history list will now be cleared.
    If there is a lot of sites on your list, this might take a few moments.

Note that clearing the cache and history in Internet Explorer also automatically clears your address bar.

If you use Firefox:

  1. Open the ‘tools’ menu, select ‘options.’
  2. Select the ‘privacy’ tab located on the left side of the menu bar.
  3. Select the ‘history’ tab and click on ‘clear.’ Your history will now be cleared.
  4. Select the ‘cache’ tab and click on ‘clear’. Your cache will now be cleared.

Note that clearing the cache and history in Firefox automatically clears your address bar as well.

NOTE: There is also another option called “Clear all information stored while browsing.” This will remove ALL of your browsing history, cache, recently downloaded files; all saved information and searches, all cookies and saved passwords.

To clear all information:

Select ‘clear all information stored while browsing’ tab and click ‘OK.’
A dialogue box will pop up to confirm that you are about to erase all information.
Click ‘OK.’

One Important Tip!

When you clear the cache and the history list, you erase not only the information on where you’ve been, but any other information that had been previously stored there. So, if someone checks and sees that the cache and the history list have been completely emptied, they will not only know that you know how to do this, but they might guess that you’re trying to hide something. One possible way to avoid suspicion is to clear the cache and history once you’re done looking at information you don’t want someone to know about. After they’re cleared, spend some time visiting sites that you think people wouldn’t object to. This way, if someone is tracking your internet habits, the cache and history list start to get filled up and they might be less likely to notice that old information is missing.