Covering your tracks online

Please note, it may not be possible to cover your tracks online completely.

If you want to be certain that no-one can track you online, the safest way to access the internet is by using someone else’s device, for example a computer at the local library, a trusted friend’s phone or your PC at work (if appropriate).

While you are using this website

If you are worried that someone else might see your computer screen while you are looking at this site and you don’t want them to see what you are looking at, there are two ways to hide the webpage quickly:

  1. Click the ‘Quickly leave this site’ button in the top right of the page, in the menu bar. This will take you to the BBC News homepage.
  2. Use the keyboard shortcut to close the browser window entirely. For Windows/Linux this is: ‘ALT’ key and ‘F4’ or ‘CTRL’ and ‘F4’. For Apple Macs: ‘Apple’ key and ‘W’.

You could also open another browser window and leave it open at another website. Place this window behind the window with our website on it. This way, when you close the main window, the other window will appear and you won’t be left with a blank screen.

After visiting our website

Whenever you use the internet, your browser stores information about all the sites you look at, such as searches you have performed and the times and days you were looking at different sites.

If you want to try to minimise the information stored in the browser history about your internet activities there are two main ways to do this:

  1. Use ‘privacy mode’ – each browser has a different name for browsing privately but if you open a new window using this mode, the pages that you look at won’t be stored in your browser’s history or your search history once you have closed the window. However, if you download any files or save any bookmarks, these will stay visible on your computer and it won’t hide the information from your employer (if you are using a work computer), internet service provider or any website you visit.
  2. Clear your internet history – this will remove most of the data stored on your computer, phone or tablet. Depending of the browser you are using, you can delete information about one specific site or all of the browsing history on the device. Please note, deleting all of the browsing history might be noticed by anyone else who uses your device. For example, if you share your computer with someone else and they use websites that require passwords, clearing the cookies on your computer will also clear their saved passwords.

You can choose to use both ‘privacy mode’ and clearing your internet history if you would like.

If you have any reason to be concerned about your safety and/or privacy, please note that it may still be possible to someone with technical skills to work out which sites you have visited after using both ‘privacy mode’ and clearing your history. Neither of these solutions can help if someone has installed spyware on your computer, so it is still best to use an alternative device if you have concerns.