Internet and Computer Safety

Please be aware that web browsing history, such as what pages you have clicked on or read, can be stored in multiple places in your computer.  There are also products or software that can be added to your computer that compile your webpage history.  Closing a webpage or clearing your browsing history does not erase the fact that you viewed that page from all of your computer’s stored information.

The safest place to view websites for help fleeing domestic violence or stalking is a public setting such as a library, at a community technology center (CTC) www.ctcnet.org (national directory), at a trusted friend’s house, or Internet Café.   If you are in danger, please try to use a safer computer that someone abusive does not have direct access, or even 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 activities – anyone can do it and there are many ways to monitor.

Computers can provide a lot of information about what you look at on the Internet, the e-mails you send, and other activities. It is not possible to delete or clear all computer “footprints.”

If you think you may be monitored on your home computer, you might consider no home Internet use or “safer” Internet surfing. Example: If you are planning to flee to California, don’t look at classified ads for jobs and apartments, bus tickets, etc. for California on a home computer or any computer an abuser has physical or remote access to. Use a safer computer to research an escape plan.

If you are in danger, please:
Call 911
Call 180’s 24 Hotline:
1-888-843-9262, in Monmouth County, New Jersey
Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at:
1-800-799-SAFE

E-mail is not a safe or confidential way to talk to someone about the danger or abuse in your life, please call us instead. 1 (888) 843-9262

Traditional “corded” phones are more private than cell phones or cordless phones.

Consider taking some of the following steps to keep yourself safe:

Clear Your Browser History: (documented history of the Internet pages you visit)

Google Chrome

Select GoogleChrome button on top right corner
Select “Tools”
Select “Clear browsing data”
Or use your keypad and hit Crtl + Shift + Del

Firefox

Click on the Firefox Button at the top of the Firefox window
Select the Privacy Panel
Set “Firefox Will” to “Use custom settings for history”
Check the box “Clear history when Firefox closes”
Click the “Settings” button next to “Clear history when Firefox closes”
After selecting click “OK”

Google

Click the  Settings button on the upper right hand corner
Click on “Search History”
Click the Settings button again
Click on “Settings”
Click the “Delete All” button

Internet Explorer 7

Click the Settings Tools button
Select “Delete Browsing History”
Select “Temporary Internet Files”, “Cookies”, “History”, “Forms” or “Passwords
Select “Delete Files”
OR Select “Delete All”
Click “Yes”

Internet Explorer 9

Click the Settings Tools Button
Select “Safety”
Click “Delete browsing history”
Select each category you want to delete
Click “Delete Files”

Safari

Select the “History” menu
Select “Clear History”

Clean Your Cookies: (small files stored on your computer)

Google Chrome

Select GoogleChrome button on top right corner
Select “Tools”
Select “Delete cookies and other site and plug-in data”

Firefox

Select “Firefox” on the top left corner
Select “Preferences”
Open the “Privacy” tab
Click “Remove all cookies”

Internet Explorer 7

Click the  Settings Tools button
Select “Browsing History”
To delete all cookies click “Delete” and select “Delete all cookies”

Internet Explorer 9

Click the Settings  Tools button
Select “Saftey”
Select “Delete Browsing History”
Make sure “cookies” is checked
Click “Delete”

Safari

Click “Safari” on the top left corner
Select “Preferences”
Go to the “Security” tab
Select “Show Cookies”
Select “Remove all”
Click “Remove” after the confirmation message
Click “Done”

Delete Old Accounts and Create a new account

Available free accounts include:

Gmail: http://mail.google.com
Zoho: http://www.zoho.com/
icloud: https://www.icloud.com/
Outlook: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook/
Windows Live Hotmail
Yahoo!: http://www.yahoo.com/
Shortmail (limited to 500 characters): https://shortmail.com/
Big String: http://download.cnet.com/Big-String/3000-2092_4-75761969.html

  • Use separate e-mails for when you make online purchases, set-up online bill payments, register for e-mail updates from websites
  • Use a main e-mail address for all your main contacts
  • Contacts that you share with your abuser should not be given your new e-mail address
  • Manage your e-mail accounts through a main portal: Import your contacts to one site.
    http://www.mail.com/mail/mail-collector/499592-manage-multiple-accounts.html
  • If your professional e-mail reveals your name ask your tech administration to alter your ID and password
  • Once your new e-mail address(es) is created make sure your full name is not listed when you bring up your account (i.e. From: Lauren Brajer; beachb*be6782)
  • Always remember to log or sign out of your e-mail service
  • NEVER open an attachment from the abuser; this will give the abuser the ability to use spyware to hack your computer

Create a new Password

Use at least 8 characters
Use both upper and lowercase letters (PaSsWORd)
Use at least one symbol (*<+=$@)
Avoid using any personal information (name, date, location, number)
Avoid using real words (it’s harder to guess a word not found in the dictionary)
Remove vowels
Change your passwords on a regular basis
Never use personal information to answer a security question; make up an answer (i.e. Question: What’s your favorite color? Answer: Paris in the Winter)
Do not write your password down
Never have your computer “Remember your password”

Lock your Computer

Use your password to lock your PC or Mac
Leaving your computer open is like leaving your house unlocked!
Most computers can quickly be locked by using the keyboard

Windows: Hold the Blackberry  +L

Mac: Control + Shift + Eject  OR Control + Shift + Power

Set up a Google alert for yourself so you know if you location or personal information is available to your abuser

Use a USB memory stick for important documentation back up; keep on your key ring or stored in a hidden place

Social Media

woman in blue on laptop

Facebook

Delete Old Accounts and Create a new account

Change your Privacy Settings

  • Click the Settings Button in the top right corner
  • Select “Privacy Settings”
  • Select your specified settings

Block your abuser and any mutual friends that might disclose your location(s)

  • Click the Settings Button in the top right corner
  • Select “Privacy Settings”
  • Select “Blocking” on the left side panel
  • Add e-mail address for each category

Be sure to monitor your friends ability to disclose your location

  • Click the Settings Button in the top right corner
  • Select “Privacy Settings”
  • Select “Timeline and Tagging” on the left side panel
  • Edit each category as necessary

●Be sure your mobile device is saved with the same settings as your computer

●Do not add your location or “Check-in” on Facebook mobile

●Do not use a picture of yourself as your profile picture

●Do not post pictures of your children as to be identified by your abuser

●Only “Friend” trusted acquaintances

●Ask your friends to block your abuser

●Only “Share” information that can be seen by your friends; if you are not careful your information will appear on a friends feed that might be visible to you abuser

●NEVER list your address, your full name, your phone number, your location, bank account information, full birth date or the names of your children

●Be selective with your public emotions and/or plans (i.e. if you are happy or sad, if you are dating, if you are travelling, eating out)

●Be selective in choosing events you “attend”; you will appear on a list that may be accessible to your abuser

●Always log-out after use

Twitter

Delete old accounts and Create a new account

Change Privacy Settings

  • Click on the  icon on the right hand corner
  • Select “Settings”
  • Use a fake name
  • Uncheck the box “Let other find me by my email address”
  • Uncheck “Add a location to my tweets”
  • Click “Delete all location information”
  • Select “Protect my Tweets”
  • Check “Always use HTTPS”
  • Click “Save Changes”
  • Always sign-out after use

E-Shopping/E-billing

  • Delete all current accounts and create new ones
  • Use secure passwords
  • Use secure sites/payment methods (i.e. Paypal)
  • Use different e-mail addresses for each account
  • Use different shipping/billing addresses
  • Never save your credit/debit account information on the site page
  • Clear history as soon as you are finished shopping

Mobile Phones

The safest phone is Pay as You Go which does not require a contract: http://www.att.com/shop/wireless/gophone.html#fbid=SsJwoW1uRGf

If you are on an abusers contract

  • Shut off your phone when it is not in use
  • Do not make calls to anyone you do not want the abuser to see on the billing statement
  • Clean your phone (i.e. remove unwated apps, delete old contacts, delete old pictures)
  • If your battery dies quicker than usual check to make sure no one has hacked your phone
  • Change your Passcode lock regularly
  • Gather any evidence on your phone if you are leaving the abuser (i.e. forward messages to a friend or family member you trust to save them as evidence in court)
  • Log off apps if they require a username and password

If you are on an individual plan

  • Lock your phone

Android:
Select phone lock settings
Select phone lock type
Use a unique password

iPhone:
Select “Settings” icon on the home screen
Press the “General” tab
Press “Passcode lock”
Create a four-digit Passcode
Set “Require Passcode” to “Immediately”

  •  Only give your phone number to people you trust completely
  • Delete any numbers your abuser can access to contact you or your children
  • Consider more than one SIM card so you have different phone numbers for different people to contact you
  • Do not post anything online or share pictures from your phone that could trace your location
  • If you have Bluetooth either disable or set your phone to “not discoverable”

Disable GPS tracking

Manually for iPhone5:
Home menu
Select “Settings”
Select “Privacy”
Select “Location Services”
Switch to “Off” for specified apps

iPhone 4 (and earlier models)
Home menu
Select “Settings”
Select “General”
Select “Location Services”
Switch to “Off” for specified apps

For more information please visit http://www.nssadvice.org/

http://www.nnedv.org/internetsafety.html