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Internet and Computer Safety

Technological advances have allowed intimate partner violence to take new forms, including access to private information, control over online accounts, and the use of electronic devices to track one's whereabouts. If you are seeking information about domestic violence and ways to get help, it it possible your partner can track this information.

It is vital to protect your online activities and understand the ways in which technology may compromise your safety.

Your online activity can be monitored through a number of ways, including spyware, hacking, and keystroke loggers. Even if you are careful about deleting your browser history, it is still possible for someone to gather information about what you are doing with your computer. Whether or not someone has direct access to your computer, it is still possible for them to remotely hack into your computer.

 

Please review the following tips and information from the National Network to End Domestic Violence:

 

  • 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 and Internet activities – anyone can do it and there are many ways to monitor with programs like Spyware, keystroke loggers and hacking tools.
  • It is not possible to delete or clear all the “footprints" of your computer or online activities. If you are being monitored, it may be dangerous to change your computer behaviors such as suddenly deleting your entire Internet history if that is not your regular habit.
  • If you think you may be monitored on your home computer, be careful how you use your computer since an abuser might become suspicious. You may want to keep using the monitored computer for innocuous activities, like looking up the weather. Use a safer computer to research an escape plan, look for new jobs or apartments, bus tickets, or ask for help.
  • Email and Instant/Text Messaging (IM) are not safe or confidential ways to talk to someone about the danger or abuse in your life. If possible, please call a hotline instead. If you use email or IM, please use a safer computer and an account your abuser does not know about.
  • Computers can store a lot of private information about what you look at via the Internet, the emails and instant messages you send, internet-based phone and IP-TTY calls you make, web-based purchases and banking, and many other activities.
  • It might be safer to use a computer in a public library, at a trusted friend’s house, or an Internet Café.

The above information is taken from the National Network to End Domestic Violence, Internet and Computer Safety page.

In addition, learn about Facebook safety with the Privacy and Safety on Facebook guide from the National Network to End Domestic Violence!

 

WARNING


Taking all of the actions below 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. Suggestions are: a 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, and pick a combination of letters and numbers for your password.


HOW AN ABUSER CAN DISCOVER YOUR INTERNET ACTIVITIES


email: if an abuser has access to your email account, he or she may be able to read your incoming and outgoing mail. if you believe your account is secure, make sure you choose a password he or she
will not be able to guess.

If an abuser sends you threatening or harassing email messages, they may be printed and saved as evidence of this abuse. Additionally, the messages may constitute a federal offense. For more information on this issue, contact your local United States Attorney's Office.

history / cache file: if an abuser knows how to read your computer's history or cache file (automatically saved web pages and graphics), he or she may be able to see information you have
viewed recently on the internet.

You can clear your history or empty your cache file in your browser's settings.*

• Netscape:

Pulldown Edit menu, select Preferences. Click on Navigator on choose 'Clear History'. Click on Advanced then select Cache. Click on "Clear Disk Cache".

On older versions of Netscape: Pulldown Options menu. Select Network Options, Select Cache. Click on "Clear Disk Cache".

•Internet Explorer:

Pull down Tools menu, select Internet Options. On General page, under Temporary Internet Files, click on "Delete Files." If asked, check the box to delete all offline content. Still within the
Temporary Internet Files section, click on Settings. (This next step may make it harder to navigate pages where you'd like your information to be remembered, but these remaining cookies do show website pages you have visited. Therefore, use your own judgment as to whether or not to take this next step). Click on "View Files." Manually highlight all the files (cookies) shown, then hit Delete. Close that window, then on General page under History
section, click on "Clear History."
 
• Safari

To Clear History: Pull down the History menu, select Clear History.
To Empty Cache: Pull down the Safari menu, select Empty Cache. A dialog box pops up How an Abuser Can Discover Your Internet Activities verifying if you want to complete this procedure. Select Empty.


• AOL:

Pulldown Members menu, select Preferences. Click on WWW icon. Then select Advanced. Purge Cache.

Additionally, a victim needs to make sure that the "Use Inline Autocomplete" box is NOT checked. This function will complete a partial web address while typing a location in the address bar at the top of the browser.

If you are using Internet Explorer, this box can be found on the MS Internet Explorer Page by clicking on "Tools" at the top of the screen, then "Internet Options," and then the "Advanced" tab. About halfway down there is a "Use inline AutoComplete" box that can be checked and unchecked by clicking on it. Uncheck the box to disable the feature that automatically completes an internet address when you start typing in the internet address box.


* This information may not completely hide your tracks. 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.
 
 


Contact information:
ABA Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence
740 15th Street, NW, 9th Floor
Washington, DC, 20005-1022

 
 
Copyright © 2004 American Bar Association.
 
 Reprinted with permission from the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence, February 19, 2004.

 

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!Safety alert: 

Computer use can be monitored and is impossible to completely clear. If you are afraid that your Internet or computer usage might be monitored, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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