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Internet Safety

Computer use can be monitored and is impossible to completely clear. If you are afraid your internet and/or computer usage might be monitored, please use a safer computer.

 

Helpful hints on using technology safely!

 

Computer Safety

It is very important for victim/survivors to keep the security on the computer up-to-date to minimize the risk of monitoring. It is just as important to understand that these securities don't eliminate the possibility of monitoring.

 

Wireless networks are not always secure. If you are using internet on an unsecured network--an unlocked network that is accessible by anyone--your account information and use can be identified and accessible by other people using the network.

 

If you are concerned your computer activity is being monitored, you may want to use a computer your abuser does not have access to. Use a "safer" computer--one from a local library or service provider.

Email

Emails are not a confidential way for victim/survivors to communicate about violence they are experiencing. Their computer activity may be monitored by their abuser.

 

Do not share any email, Facebook, or online system passwords with the abuser.

 

Avoid using easy passwords that the abuser could guess.

 

Do not save your username and password for easy log in. Log out after you are done using the program.

 

Never open attachments from unknown sources and be cautious about requests for information.

 

Since knowing the survivor's email address can help the abuser harass and possibly locate a victim, it's important that mutual friends and family remain cautious around their use of email. Using the BCC (blind carbon copy) option on email allows forwards to be sent without everyone seeing who it was sent to.

 

Open a new email account on a "safer" computer and then only check that account from a "safer" computer that should not be monitored by the abuser.

Erasing Your Tracks

It is impossible to completely erase your email or computer history. Although many services claim to wipe a computer's history so your activity on it cannot be monitored, it is impossible to fully erase the activity history. These services can offer a false sense of security.

The term "spyware" refers to computer monitoring software. Spyware is a program purposely put on someone's computer by another person to monitor their activity. You can download software that make it possible to detect some spyware, but not all. If you think your computer may have spyware, discontinue use until you can have your computer checked. Consult a computer professional or run a computer program to detect spy ware, such as SpyBot.

Although you can delete your internet browsing history, it is impossible to fully erase your activity history. Abuser may be suspicious if the computer you share has a deleted browsing history.

 

Social Networking

Today, almost everyone is using social networks, including victims, survivors, and abusers. Social networks include Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Match.com, and Webkinz to name a few.

Many users do not understand or utilize all of the privacy options of the social networking site they are using. If you do not have your privacy options set it is possible that some or all of your information can be obtained through an internet search. Check your the privacy settings.

 

Avoid using easy passwords that the abuser could guess. Change your passwords regularly.

Do not save your username and password for easy log in. Log out of a program completey when you are done using it.

 

Landline Phones

Caller ID can be used to monitor incoming phones, but can also be used to obtain reverse directory information, including a physical address or place based on the phone number.

Caller ID numbers can be changed or "spoofed" to hide the actual number of the person making the call.

 

Some blocked calls can be unblocked without your knowledge.

 

Cordless phones are not confidential. Most can be intercepted by scanners, baby monitors, and other cordless phones. Cordless phones can also lose battery power or coverage in an emergency.

 

Cellular Phones

Cellular phone features such as caller ID, text messaging, call history, and voicemail can be monitored.

 

Bluetooth technology is insecure.

 

Cellular phones are not always dependable. They can lose battery power or coverage in the time of an emergency.

 

Become familiar with the features of your cell phone, including bluetooth, regardless if you use the feature.

 

Always give your location information to 911 in emergencies. If your phone is GPS enabled--most are--set the GPS for 911 only!

Test messages can be falsified, spoofed, or sent anonymously from the carrier's website or services.