The browser history could potentially serve as a snapshot of the user’s psyche and most intimate details about his/ her person. This is why the privacy and security of your browser history becomes a critical issue, especially if you’re used to sharing your electronic devices such as laptops and smartphones. Even in cases where users are following all basic security measures such as encrypting their emails, using VPNs to keep your browsing anonymous and more – anyone with access to your system and especially your browser history can still figure out exactly what you have been up to.
It’s a convenient feature of most browsers that they tend to store information indefinitely until the user decides to delete it. This is very handy for users who like to pick up exactly where they left off their browsing. But the price of convenience often lies in the compromise of safety. The stored information can be accessed by anyone – including highly undesirable elements and people deliberately violating your privacy to use the information against you. Always remember that visiting the site is proof enough for browsing – even if you never stopped to look at the site’s content. This is disturbing for users who may have malware or adware in their system that keeps redirecting them to undesirable sites. Cloud Services Vermont can help your systems stay protected from privacy violations and snooping malware.
So what can you do to ensure your digital privacy? You need to make a habit out of deleting your browser history and cookies regularly. Or, prevent them from getting stored in the first place. Not storing your information on the browser may result in a lower degree of convenience than what you are used to, but it ensures that your browsing history remains private. For more ideas on how to return your right to privacy while accessing the Internet, please refer to IT Support Vermont.
Why Clear Cache and Cookies?
The first step towards ensuring your digital privacy is to regularly clear the cache and cookies from your web browser. Clearing the ‘cache’ is also probably the fastest way to fix page load errors and issues on particular websites. Put simply, the cache is a tool internet browsers use for faster page loading. But when the coding on websites gets updated, the files saved in the cache may sometimes not match with the current coding on the website and result in issues. The simplest way to resolve such issues is through Clearing Cache and Cookies. Managed IT Services Vermont has additional resources on how to do this on virtually every single web browser.
Removing Cookies on Windows
Delete Cookies from Google Chrome on Windows
- Go to the main menu and click on More tool > Clear Browsing Data
- If there are multiple items you would like to delete including cookies, just select them all. You can also adjust the time period you would like the changes to occur in.
- Click on Clear Browsing Data
- A simpler way to do this is to simply use Incognito Mode (Ctrl + Shift + N). The benefit of using incognito mode is that it automatically deletes cookies and other session data when the user exits the browser window.
Delete Cookies from Firefox on Windows
- Go to the main toolbar, and click on Preferences
- Go to the Advanced panel
- Select the Network tab
- Under Cached Web Content, select Clear Now
Delete Cookies from Internet Explorer 11 on Windows
- Go to the main toolbar, and select Settings
- Select Options
- Under History, click Select
- Select the cookies check box, then choose to Delete
- Another alternative way to do this is to use InPrivate Browsing in Internet Explorer (This option is listed under Settings > Safety > InPrivate Browsing).
Delete Cookies on Microsoft Edge
- Thanks to the foundation of Chromium now, tweaks in Microsoft Edge follow similar steps as above. You can clear out your browser history by going to your browser and typing in “edge://settings/clearBrowserData” in the address bar. Alternatively, you could also go to menu > Settings > Settings (again) > Privacy, search and services > Clear Browsing Data and click Choose what to clear. Again, you have granular control over the deletion of your history and can select the exact date ranges—the last hour up to all time, with increments in between to delete your browsing history, cookies, and more. Once you complete the process, all other devices where you’ve synced Edge deletes this data as well. In case you wish to avoid that, you should sign out of the browser first. Go back into Settings and click on the link that says “Choose what to clear every time you close the browser”. You can choose to toggle the switch for Browser History to “Delete it every time”. Keep in mind that Microsoft continues to keep a portion of your history online. If you want to further tweak this information, you can click on Manage your data and go to your account page where you can choose to completely delete that synced browser activity history.