When you surf the Internet, your Web browser stores various information from the websites you visit on your local hard drive. While the storage of Web browsing information may be convenient on your personal computer, if you use a shared computer you may not want to leave a trail of all of the websites you visit. An individual that uses a shared computer after you do may view your browsing history and if you didn’t securely log out of your email, online banking, or a shopping website, a malicious user could potentially access one of your accounts.
If you are using one of the computer labs at Loyola, the browsing history is automatically cleared each time you log out. However, if you are using a shared computer elsewhere on campus or other public locations it is a good idea to get in the habit of clearing your browsing history, especially when you access secure data. The caveat of relying on clearing your browsing history is that you have to remember to do it.
If you use Firefox (3.5 and later), you have the option to activate a Private Browsing feature before you start surfing the Web. Private Browsing prevents Firefox from retaining information about the sites you have visited on the computer you are using. To use Private Browsing in Firefox, click on Start Private Browsing from the Tools menu. Visit Firefox’s Private Browsing page to learn more. Safari and Internet Explorer 8 also have similar private browsing options.