Internet Privacy

Cover Your Tracks

Internet resources can provide invaluable help, but sometimes your Internet Browser leaves a “trail” of information indicating where you have been on the Web. To prevent anyone else from discovering what Web sites you have been viewing, some simple and reliable precautions can be taken that will erase your Internet browsing history.

Usernames and Passwords

Many services on the Web may require you to create a login or profile consisting of a username (a nickname unique to you) and password, both of which are decided by you.

  • When deciding on a username, don’t choose anything that may be easily guessed by someone who knows you. For example, don’t use any of your real names or initials. Rather, think of other things that you’ll remember, like your favorite animal or your favorite color, and combine them to create a brand new, unrecognizable username for yourself (bluerabb1t or brownbear37).
  • When deciding on a password, choose something that cannot easily be guessed. Use at least 15 characters. Try writing an entire sentence that you can easily remember (Stay out of my business!).
  • Your Internet browser, the program that lets you see the Web (for example Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, or Opera) may ask you if you want to save your username and password on your computer so that you won’t have to type your username and password next time you want to log in to a particular site. Tell your browser not to save your username and password. Otherwise, anybody using the computer after you will be able to log into your profile.

Keep your usernames and passwords safe. Don’t write them down; make them things you can remember.

Cookies

Many Web sites use objects called cookies to store limited information about you in your Internet browser. This information is almost always very simple data about your preferences and behavior, like how many times you have visited the Web site in the past. While most people don’t mind their computer storing this information, you may not always wish for other people using the same Internet browser to be able to see the cookies that have been created as a result of visiting certain Web sites.

Learn more about cookies and how to delete them at www.aboutcookies.org.

You may also find it helpful to watch this video about cookies from Google:

Keep in mind that if you delete all cookies from a computer, other people using the computer will notice, so it may be better for you to take the time to learn how to find and delete the cookies you wish to remove one by one.

Browsing History

Internet browsers remember which Web sites you have visited in the past. If you wish to prevent another computer user from viewing your Internet history, then you should learn to clear your history or selectively delete items from your history.

This video will show you how to delete your browsing history for Windows Internet Explorer:

And this video will show you how to delete your browsing history for Safari on Macintosh computers:

External Resources

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