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Internet safety

Covering your tracks online

The following information is to increase your safety when visiting this website, but please be aware that it may not completely hide your tracks. Many web browsers have features that display recently visited sites. The safest way to find information on the internet would be at a local library, internet café, a trusted friend’s house, or at work.

Hide your visit button

The Hide This Page button on the top of the MFCC website will instantly close this site and load Google. But you will still need to delete your history to fully cover your tracks.

Passwords

If you do not use a password to log on to your device, someone else will be able to access your email and track your internet usage.

A strong password:

  • Is at least eight characters long.
  • Does not contain your user name, real name, or company name.
  • Does not contain your date of birth or any other numbers that might be easy to guess.
  • Does not contain a complete word.
  • Is significantly different from previous passwords.
  • Contains capital and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.

If you login to any device, don’t forget to log out of your account when you have finished your browsing session so no one else can access your account.

Deleting your browsing history

Internet browsers keep a record of all the web pages you visit. This is known as a ‘history’. To access the history in your web browser follow the instructions below:

Computers

The following keyboard shortcuts will access your browser history menu:

  • Internet Explorer: Ctrl + H
  • Chrome: Ctrl + H
  • Chrome (Mac): Cmd + Y
  • Firefox: Ctrl+H
  • Firefox (Mac): Cmd + Shift + H
  • Opera: Ctrl + H
  • Opera (Mac): Cmd + H
  • Safari: Cmd + Alt + 2
  • Edge: Ctrl + H

Once in the history menu, look for any entries that contain ‘familycrisis.co.uk’ or any other sites you wish to remove, right-click and choose Delete. To delete all history, select ‘Clear browsing data’, ‘Clear all history’ or a similarly named option.

Your browser may also store additional information about the web sites you’ve visited, such as cached files and cookies. To delete these:

  • Internet Explorer:
    • Select Menu (gear icon) > Safety > Delete browsing history…
    • Choose the items you wish to delete
    • Select Delete to confirm
    • A confirmation message will be shown at the bottom of the browser window once done. Press the X to clear.
  • Chrome:
    • Select Chrome menu > Settings
    • Select History
    • Select Clear browsing data… and choose the items you wish to delete
    • Select Clear browsing data to confirm.
  • Firefox:
    • Select Firefox menu > Options
    • Select Privacy
    • To empty the cache, select Advanced from the left menu, then choose the Network tab. In the section named Cached Web Content select Clear Now
    • To delete cookies, select Privacy from the left menu, then in the History section choose Firefox will: Use custom settings for history. Then select Show Cookies where you can browse and Remove Selected cookies or Remove All.
  • Opera:
    • Select Settings > Preferences > Advanced
    • To empty the cache, select History > Empty now
    • To delete cookies select Cookies > Manage cookies. From here you can delete specific cookies that are stored on your computer.
  • Safari:
    • Select Safari > Preferences
    • Select the Privacy tab
    • To empty the cache, choose Remove All Website Data… > Remove Now
    • To delete cookies, select Details… from here you can browse for specific cookies and select Remove, or delete all cookies by choosing Remove All.
  • Edge:
    • Select Edge menu > Settings
    • Under the section named Clear browsing data select Choose what to clear
    • To empty the cache, choose Cached data and files then Clear
    • To delete all cookies, choose Cookies and saved website data then Clear.

Tablets and smart phones

The history menu can usually be accessed from your web browser’s main menu:

  • Chrome (Android):
    • Select Chrome menu > Settings
    • Select (Advanced) Privacy
    • Select Clear browsing data.
  • Chrome (iOS):
    • Select Chrome menu > Settings
    • Select Privacy
    • Choose the data type that you want to clear
    • Select Clear.
  • Safari:
    • From the home screen select Settings > Safari
    • Scroll down and select Clear history.
  • Edge:
    • Select Edge menu > History
    • Long-press on any individual item you would like to delete, or select Clear all history.

Private browsing

All leading web browsers include a “private browsing” mode that, once enabled, stores nothing about your browsing activity in that private browsing window on your device. This won’t stop online services from recording your activity, but it won’t leave any traces on your computer (no history, web cache or anything else) and so it’s always a useful first step to take.

Computers:

  • Internet Explorer: Menu > Safety > InPrivate Browsing
  • Chrome: Menu > New Incogneto Window
  • Firefox: Menu > New Private Window
  • Opera: File > New Private Tab
  • Safari: File > New Private Window
  • Edge: Menu > New InPrivate Window.

Tablets and smart phones:

  • Chrome: Menu > New Incogneto Tab
  • Safari: Select the Pages icon and choose Private
  • Edge: Menu > New InPrivate Window.

Email

If an abuser sends you threatening or harassing email messages, these may be printed and saved as evidence of this abuse. Any email you have previously sent will be stored in your Sent or Sent Items. If you started an email but didn’t finish it, it might be stored in your Drafts folder. If you reply to any email, the original message may be included in your reply – print and delete the email if you don’t want anyone to see your original message.

When you delete an email in any email application or service (Outlook, Gmail, Apple Mail etc.) it does not usually delete the item completely – it usually moves the email to a folder named Deleted Items. You have to then delete the emails stored in Deleted Items to remove them completely.

Browser toolbars

Toolbars such as those provided by Google, AOL, AVG, Yahoo and others often keep a record of the search words you have typed into the toolbar search box. In order to erase all the search words you have typed in, you will need to check the individual instructions for each type of toolbar. For example, for the Google toolbar simply select the Google icon, and choose Clear Search History.

Spyware

Computer spyware is has become very easy to purchase and install on home computers, tablets and phones. You may think that you are safe to access a device, not knowing that what you do on it is being tracked. Perpetrators of domestic abuse are increasingly using spyware on home computers and other devices to track and intimidate their victims. Women need to be aware of the possibility that spyware may be downloaded on theirs or their children’s computers or other devices.

What is spyware?

Spyware is software that can be installed surreptitiously on a person’s computer, tablet or phone without their consent. The person who has installed the spyware can then access the device remotely from another computer, and can monitor information input into that computer e.g. the user’s visited web pages, emails, keystrokes etc.

Is it possible to tell if the computer has spyware on it?

It is often not possible to tell if the computer has spyware on it. A person being abused may realise that their abuser is using spyware because the abuser knows information that would be difficult to find out by any other means.

What should a person do if they suspect that their computer has spyware on it?

  • Use a computer at a public library or an internet cafe if you suspect there is any possibility of your abuser monitoring a home computer
  • Do not use home computers to raise any suspicion or give information to the abuser e.g. researching websites about domestic abuse, sending revealing emails to friends and family
  • Do not look up websites about removing spyware as this will raise suspicion
  • Do not attempt to remove the spyware as this will raise suspicion (also, the spyware could be used in evidence against the abuser in a court case).