5 Tech Tips for Privacy You Should Know If Your Partner Snoops

5-Tech-Tips-for-Privacy-You-Should-Know-If-Your-Partner-SnoopsKeeping your online activities private can be tricky if you’re not tech-savvy, but email and browser history can expose your affair faster than anything else. If your partner snoops into your internet activity, or you suspect they might, here are five things you need to know to keep your affairs under the radar.

#1 – Private Browsing Mode

In Chrome, it’s called “Incognito Mode” Internet Explorer calls it “InPrivate Browsing” and Firefox calls it “Private Windows.” By any name, this is the best tool in the pocket of anyone who shares a computer, but doesn’t want to share their internet browser history. These “private” browser modes won’t hide your browser activity from anyone who’s tracking traffic – in other words, don’t try to get around your work filters using a private browser: it won’t help – but they will delete the browser history and cookies associated with that session when you close the window.

What does that mean? It means that your “normal” browser history won’t be affected, so anyone who checks won’t realize that there’s some information missing. Only the records of any sites you visited or logged into in your private browser window will be gone. If you’re using private browser windows, be sure to close them before you leave the computer – the information doesn’t get deleted until the window is closed.

#2 – Independent Email Accounts

Obviously, you won’t want to use a shared email account to sign up for online dating services or chat with your lovers. No matter how careful you are about deleting emails, that will give you away in a heartbeat. Using your primary personal email can be dangerous, though, too – for several reasons.

First, if you have your email synced to your smartphone or tablet, your partner would be able to check your email simply by picking up the device. That’s an instant giveaway. Even if you don’t sync your email, many webmail providers, including Gmail, will leave you logged in unless you specifically log out or clear your cookies… so if you close a browser window while forgetting to log out of your email, your partner can check your email just by opening a browser window and navigating to your email provider’s site.

Using an independent email account, especially if it’s with a different email provider (say, Hotmail if your primary email account is with Gmail) is a great way to protect yourself from that kind of snooping.

#3 – Clear Temporary Files

The safest way to handle email that you need to keep private from someone who shares a computer with you is to use webmail that you access exclusively through a private browser window. Closing the browser will automatically log you out of the email, as well as clearing temporary files.

You’ll want your temporary files cleared if you’re looking at email, because anything that you view in your browser – like steamy pics you’re exchanging with a lover – is stored in the temporary file cache on your computer. If your partner knows what they’re doing, they can access those pictures in the temporary files even if you don’t save them on your computer. If you look at anything you don’t want your partner to be able to see, and you’ve made the mistake of doing it outside of your private browser window, check out the Settings or the File tab on your browser, and look for the “Clear Temporary Files” option.

#4 – Save to Removable Disks

Sometimes you need to save information you don’t want your partner to see. If you know they have a habit of going through files on your computer, don’t save that information to your computer – no, not even using a hidden file. It’s easy to un-hide files, especially if the two of you share a single login or both of your user accounts have administrative privileges. (If you don’t know what that means, you can assume every user account on your computer has them.)

Instead, get a cheap USB flash drive, and save any documents or files you really want to keep to the drive. Then, keep the drive itself secured. Your partner can’t snoop into files that are saved to a USB drive if the drive is on your keyring in your back pocket – or anywhere else that you can be sure they won’t find it. You can also password protect USB drives, meaning that even if your partner plugs in the drive, they won’t be able to access the information on it.

#5 – Password Protection

Setting a password on your laptop is just good security – after all, what if someone else steals your computer and tries to get into your personal data? Creating individual password-protected accounts on a shared computer, though, can be a great way to add a little extra privacy for your online activities. If you don’t have a passcode or other security measure (how to pick a strong password) set on your smartphone, that’s a very good idea, too. Those measures can discourage casual snooping, though even if you’ve implemented them, you should still be sure to follow our other recommendations for keeping online affairs private. After all, it just takes one time when you’ve left a browser window open and logged into a dating site for everything to go south.

Be careful and discreet, and you won’t get caught!

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