It’s easy to spy on someone. It’s easy to monitor emails, texts, websites, social media, and other computer/phone/online activities. The first and most important step to being safer and more secure online is to assume you’re being monitored and to take the following steps:
Remove all software/programs/applications that you do not use or can not identify. If you are unsure or unable to do this get professional help or seek assistance from a trusted friend or family member.
Install security software. There are free options if cost is an issue.
Create a new, secure password for your wireless network. Do not share it. (Wireless network security tips)
Create new, strong, different passwords for each of your email, calendar, social media, computer, and any other accounts.
Disable any “auto-complete” functions in your web browser.
You should have three email addresses.
Personal – the email you share with your most trusted contacts
Financial – the address you use for online banking, PayPal, etc
General – the email you use for websites, sign-ups/registrations, and contacts that know both you and your abuser.
Use web-based email and do not save your passwords. You should use a false name when creating your email accounts. Only share your personal email with close, trusted contacts. Do not provide your personal email to anyone who knows both you and your abuser.
Remove all apps you do not use or can not identify.
Lock your phone with a secure password. (Phone security tips)
Ensure your text messages are automatically deleted after a certain number have been received.
Turn off any auto backup services for photos such as Facebook, Google+, Dropbox, or iPhone/iPad/iPod/iOS
We do not recommend use of Twitter, other micro-blogging services, nor any photo/video sharing services including Instagram and SnapChat.
Social networks have implemented location functionality that, if turned on, might show where you are whenever you post. Be sure that any location functionality in any online service you use is OFF. (This includes shutting off Bluetooth functions on mobile devices.)
Socializing online is a part of everyday life for many. Sharing special moments, staying in touch, and seeking refuge are all made easier with social networks and the web. What seems like an innocent photo of friends could serve as a collection of clues for your an abuser. Perhaps they recognize the room, or the people you’re with, or take note of a seemingly unimportant sign or landmark. Keeping safe means being very cautious with what you share and who you share it with.
You should delete any social networking accounts you use and create new ones, paying close attention to privacy settings. You should delete the old accounts because activity on the accounts may still be monitored by your abuser and others may unknowingly provide information that could put you at risk.
Be very cautious when choosing who can “friend” or “follow” you. Do not add individuals who have your abuser as a friend. Restrict the content your share to friends only and do not accept requests from people you do not know.