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Cleaning Your Browser History 

By Allison Bench

Think about all the websites you’ve visited today. Maybe you bought tickets to a Broadway show and then searched for flights from Calgary to New York. This simple act provides potential hackers information about where you live and the trip you’re planning to take (and when!)—a hacker’s dream. Once someone has access to your search history and private information, you’re at risk of identity theft and scams. But don’t despair; there are a few simple steps you can take to help protect your privacy while searching the web. 

Clear your history. Your browser history contains a running log of every website you’ve visited and every online form you’ve completed. Chances are, you’ve already bookmarked sites you need frequently. Deleting your history removes the log and any personal information you may have entered (but not your bookmarks).  

Try going incognito. Browsing in an incognito or private window ensures your browsing history isn’t saved in the first place. While it doesn’t make you anonymous on the web, it does add another layer of protection to your online activity—just hit Ctr+Shift+N after launching your browser. For even more security, use a VPN to completely hide your personal network. 

Using a public or shared computer? Always delete the history before closing the browser. You don’t want your personal information to be available to the next user. 

Use a password manager. And never save your passwords in your browser. While it might be convenient for you, it’s also handy for hackers. If a password gets compromised, they can test it out on the sites in your history to gain access to your accounts. To learn more tips about safe passwords, check out our article on password management

Clear your cache. Clearing your browser cache is also a good way to improve your computer’s efficiency. It frees up space and ensures you reach the most current and safest web pages. It also stops websites from tracking you (which is likely why you’re seeing more ads related to that upcoming trip to the Big Apple). 

So help keep cyber criminals off your trail and clear your history and cache at least once a month. After all, like a wave that erases footprints in the sand, clearing your data can wipe away your digital tracks. It’s an easy way to protect your online privacy. 

Additional Resources: Guides by Browser 

-Microsoft Edge 

-Google Chrome  

-Apple Safari