Protecting yourself on the internet


If you are worried that someone will find out that you have visited this website, please read the following information through carefully.

Please note

This information is provided as a guide and may not necessarily conceal all your internet visits. If you want to be absolutely sure that no one is tracking you online, access the internet in your local library, at friends' houses or at your place of work.

Emergency exit button on the women's refuge search page

The button on the top right margin can be used to close the women's refuge search as quickly as possible. You will then be forwarded to a discreet website (Google). Important: This button does not replace the following advice about safe browsing, since other traces (e.g. the history of pages visited) will still be on the computer.

How can someone track my internet activities?

It is generally the case that internet browsers save particular items of information as you move around the web. These include images of web pages accessed, words that were entered in search engines and a list (history) of the web pages visited. The advice below tells you ways of restricting the possibility that someone can find out that you have visited this page.


Warning about deleting cookies and the list of web pages accessed

It is also important to note that there are certain risks if you erase data from your computer. If, for instance, your partner banks online and has saved their access password, this will also be deleted if you delete all cookies. Your partner will probably notice this. He/she will also realise if you delete the list of accessed web pages. Both of these may make him/her suspicious in certain circumstances.

How can I find out which browser I am using?

If you know which browser you are using, you can go straight to the relevant information for the particular browser below. If you do not know which browser you are using, open the browser and click on Help or on the question mark (?) symbol in the toolbar at the top of the page. A menu will appear and the last entry will say "About Mozilla Firefox" or "Info". If only "Info" is displayed, click on it. You will then see the name of the browser.

Avoiding direct traces

Most modern browsers offer the option of enabling a privacy mode, which means that the traces are removed automatically when the window is closed. The help pages of the manufacturers tell you how to enable privacy mode:



Internet Explorer:

Google Chrome: (privacy mode is disabled automatically when the window is closed)

Microsoft Edge:


In the menu under Safari > Enable private browsing (privacy mode must be disabled again manually!)



Instructions for deleting cookies and the list of accessed web pages for the various browsers (please note the warning above)


Internet Explorer:

Google Chrome:

Microsoft Edge:


iPhone, iPad, iPod:




Toolbars such as Google, AOL and Yahoo store all search terms that you enter when searching the internet. To delete the list of search terms, please find out the ways this can be done on your device. With Google, for instance, you must put the mouse pointer into the search field and then click on the left mouse button. A window will then open, showing a list giving you the option – a long way down – of clearing the search history. Click on this to delete the entries.


If someone is sending you threatening or unpleasant emails, you should print these out and keep them as evidence. Make sure that you can receive and send emails securely:
every email you send will be stored in the Sent folder. If you do not want the email to be stored, go to the Sent folder and delete the email there.
If you have started an email but not yet sent it, it may be stored in the Drafts folder. Go to the Drafts folder and delete the email there.
If you answer an email, the email which you are answering will often be attached as well. If you do not want the original message to be sent, delete it.
If you delete a message in an email program (Outlook Express, Outlook, Thunderbird, Incredimail, Eudora etc.), the message will generally not be deleted completely, but will instead be put in the Trash or Deleted folder. If you want to delete the message completely, go to the relevant folder and delete it there.
If there is a risk that someone can access your email program and will be able to read your emails, you should create a new email address. Use a provider such as GMX ( or Yahoo ( so that you can access this mailbox from any internet terminal. Choose an email address that is as anonymous as possible (e.g. so that no one can work out who you are from the address. Keep this email address to yourself.

General security advice

If you do not have a password for your computer, anyone will be able to use your computer, access your email program and check your use of the internet. The most secure option is therefore either to create a password that only you know, or to use public computers in the local library or at friends' houses.



The browser is a program that is used to present web pages. The best known browsers include Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla from Firefox. On the internet, a search engine is a program that searches the internet for particular keywords, documents or images. Probably the best known of these search engines is Google.


A cookie is a short entry in a normally small database or in a special directory on a computer. It is used for the exchange of information between computer programs and the time-limited archiving of information. A cookie consists of at least two parts: its name and the content or value of the cookie. There may also be details about its intended use. Users of the computer are usually unable to view or modify the database without special tools.


The history shows all the web pages that you have viewed on this computer. It is therefore particularly important to clear the history.