Computer Security and Privacy

Safety Warning

Always remember that computers record everything you do on the computer and on the Internet.

Computers store information about what you look at on the Internet, the e-mails you send, and other activities. It is impossible to delete or clear all computer “footprints”. If you think you may be monitored on your home computer, it might be safer to use a computer in a public library, an Internet Café or at the home of a trusted friend.

Internet:

Clear your history or empty your cache files in your browser’s settings by following the below steps:

  • Internet Explorer: browsing history is deleted by clicking on Tools, select  Delete Browsing History and then click  “delete all” in the dialogue box.
  • Firefox: Pull down “Tools” menu. Click on “Clear Private Data”. Tick “Browsing History”; “Cache”; and “Cookies”. Click on “Clear Private Data Now”.
  • Chrome:
    1. Click the wrench icon tools menu on the browser toolbar.
    2. Select History.
    3. Mouse over the items you’d like to remove.
    4. Select the checkboxes for the items.
    5. Click the Remove selected items button below the blue bar at the top of the page.
    6. Click OK when the confirmation window appears
  • Safari:
    1. From the Safari menu, select “Reset Safari”
    2. From the menu, select the items you want to reset and then  click “Reset.” As of Safari 5.1, “Remove all website data” covers both cookies and cache.

Many browser types have features that display recently visited sites. The safest way to find information on the internet would be at a local library, a friend’s house, or at work.

E-mail:

E-mail is not always a safe or confidential way to talk to someone about the danger or abuse in your life.

If someone has access to your e-mail account they may be able to read your incoming and outgoing mail. Make sure you choose a password that someone will not be able to guess. Change your password regularly. Delete mails in both your inbox and sent folders. Some e-mail programmes can automatically save addresses of mails you have sent and received, so check your address book and delete any contact details you fear could raise suspicions.
If someone sends you threatening or harassing e-mails make sure you print and save them. Although you may be tempted to delete them, especially if they are distressing, they are evidence and may help you prove that a criminal offence has been committed.

Phones

Always remember to delete text messages you have sent or received – unless they are messages sent by an abuser. If you receive threatening or harassing text messages, do not reply to them and keep them as they are evidence. The Gardaí can have these messages downloaded and printed.
If your phone stores delivery reports for text messages that you send, make sure to delete these also.
When making calls please note that traditional landline phones are more private than mobile phones or cordless phones. However it may not be appropriate to use a landline if the abuser has access to itemised bills.
Always remember to check the call register on your mobile or cordless phone and delete any numbers that could raise suspicions.

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(Based on information provided by COSC, The National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence, http://www.cosc.ie/ )